Category Archives: Innovation

Kill Table

Use list, grid whatever you like but please don’t use table to display content.. table is good for number only ! and for Excel… widely use by marketing, sales and financial department.

Be sure nobody will enjoy having to squeeze content in a table. Cells are height depending with row, and width depending on the width of your screen (scrolling table is not even conceivable/possible here). As now, screen are often use in portrait (mobile and tablet is more and more use to surf the web) than in landscape be sure your table is useless and definitely not enjoyable.

To convince you, please think about having your Facebook wall as a table… or your Twitter Timeline as a table…

do you enjoy it.. if so, go back to your number ūüėČ

Actually there are still some tools that use table as a main components.

Email client :

Payroll software :

Stock management system, Order management system, etc… but be sure they can be reinvented to be more effective.

For example, here is a cool example for email client :

At the end, it will always depend on the nature of content you have to display, but avoid table the most you can. There are not efficient in displaying data, prefer lists, grids, are all other ways you can find. That’s my thinking.

Innovation’s games

Innovation is often something we think we have or not. That is not true ! Innovation is a skill, and like everything it can be learn and train. There are different games you can do in order to improve your creativity.

I will suggest you to read the excellent book of Todd Henry, The accidental creative (http://www.accidentalcreative.com/book/). He define a framework called FRESH, for Focus, Relationship, Energy, Stimuli, and finally Hour. As Todd write in his book, you should set time apart, once a week in order to play with your creativity. But I think, it should become a practice of every day.

The most common game you can play is the simplest one but not the easiest. Let’s call it “Link it”. ¬†In this game, you need to be curious of everything, that is a general mantra in innovation. This game consists by linking think you like together. This allow you to create everything and the most crazy think. Imagine you like beer, and you like cats : How can you link it ? You see, it’s simple but not easy. You must always be aware of what you can link and what you can create.

The other one I like it’s “What if…”. In this game you can revolution the world. What if my coffee machine can be easier to wash ? What if instead of touching my phone screen I can talk to it ? Let’s create Nescafe and Siri :D.

Maybe you are already comfortable with the 5 whys. ¬†But if not, 5 whys is used in problem solving. It’s a technic of asking a first why. When you find the response, challenge it again with a why. Keep going until you reach level 5. Generally this is the root of your problem. it’s commonly name root cause analysis. You can play this but with innovation focus. ¬†You can alternate with “Why not?”.

The next one is close to your ability to watch the world. Train yourself to observe what could be done better, what’s not working properly and find a solution. Let’s call this game, “Solve it”. There is for sure , many things coming to your mind. Think about the last time something drive you crazy, solve it !

Finally, business innovation is often at the intersection of two things/thinks. Find these intersections, innovate !

Mind map is a tool I over use since I discover it, and I will encourage you to give it a try seriously. Buy a book from Tony Buzan, I will suggest this one, few big piece of paper, felt pens. You should learn about mind map and play a game with your new mind map set. Give you 10 minutes to find what you can do with matching two things together. Set up a base object, and take a list of items. Go! you have 10 minutes to find the best match. You will be surprise by the power of mind map for sure.

So free you mind, free you innovation, free you business ūüėČ

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Meetings = Pollution, Be green.

Meetings is a subject that come often in work management topic. As It was the subject of my previous post, meetings is another kind of distraction.

Meeting = pollution is not talking you that you should never do meetings, but avoid it as much as you can. We are all confronted to this everyday, like pollution be more conscious, be more responsible, and use a green approach.

Be thrifty

Are you this kind of employee, who spend day long in chaining meetings? Do you feel like you don’t have time to do your job because of lack of time? it’s surely impossible for you to stop doing meeting, so don’t spend too much time in meeting. The first thing you can do is being thrifty with your time. You can start fabricate rules for your meetings to save time. First of them, always time-box your meetings for what you really needs. Time box it before entering in the meeting, never more than an hour. Use a timer, and give you box to conclude. Another way to save time, it’s to invite only people you really need to meet, no more guess that make you lose your time. BE THRIFTY !

Don’t print this email

As I said, the best way to communicate information in agile company,¬†it’s to talk face to face. So if you have to use email, it’s now. Send meeting invitation, every time. Take time to let you guess know what will be discuss, the purpose of the meeting, when it will be and how long it will take, what do you/they need to work on prior of this meeting, etc. All the details will be included in this email. If you can’t write this email, maybe you don’t need this meeting. This email can save you long time in meeting just because people will know the subject and will be fair enough ready to jump on the subject right after the beginning. If it’s a weekly meeting, you also have to write this email with the agenda. Let’s people know they can reply to this email with ideas and solutions prior to the meeting happen. Sometimes, it will save you a meeting.

Sort your waste

I have too many time, spent hours in meetings that no more discuss the subject that matter. It arrive every time. So, sort your waste. If someone go in the wrong direction, let him know you understand his/her point but you will discuss this, after the meeting. There is no reason to not doing that. Remember, your meetings are¬†time-boxed, you can’t loose time with subject that no matter.

Recycle

Now that you have save few days of meeting, you don’t want spent your day planning them and preparing them. Recycle ! Use what you have done before. It’s important to prepare a meetings, you are in charge of others time for the moment they enter in your meeting. So yes, it means you have to prepare it well. Reuse what have worked, and trow what don’t.

The green approach adapted in work it’s a good way to save time, money, and increase productivity in your company.¬†I hope you will choose to be green, not only in your work be also in your life.

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Distractions

I want to start this post by asking yourself if, usually, you do overstay at work? Are you this kind of worker who fell better staying late at work, having always something important to finish, and who deliver never enough? Do you reach your goal at the end of the day? Do you set goals for your day at work? We are not talking here about special time when rush it’s there, but more on the habit of doing overstay.

Several books, and I think here I will save you reading time to give you more space to work, mention that working 10 hours a days more or less, is useless.

There are books talking about the fear to leave early because manager are still there, what about if I go home earlier than my manager ? Will I lost my job ? This kind of question which leads to staying at work, doing presence rather than efficient work, wasting time and energy for letting them know you love your job.

There are also, others who talk about concentration, and capability of doing good job after few hours. Do you remember once, staying late, doing stuff important, and by the end of the day when you are finally on the way back to home, you tell yourself you should have do it a better way ? Sometimes, it’s during your way back home you find the solution. Staying late doesn’t never mean doing good. That’s simply because of energy management. Nobody can do good job for long without energy renewal.

And finally, there are books talking about doing a task and another task and another task all the same time. That leads to not doing task at all, but submerging us with lot of stress and having to switch from one things to another without enough space to concentrate on what matter. Have you never be answering email during an important job to do? Have you never be distracted by a text message during your day? These distractions are always there when we try to concentrate to our job, we have to switch from one context to another. Multitasking is not a solution. There are a lot of activity you can do in order to understand multitasking disfunction.

Have you try to find a solution to your overstay problem? Yes, it’s a problem, overstay mean give more time to work than to you and when I say you, I mean you for sure but also your family, friends, children, pets, all people for who you matter.

So I will give you some tips, not always easy to implement, but the result is worth the trouble.

Give you space to concentrate

Simply turn off notifications of your phone, email, messaging application, everything that distract you, Facebook included. I’m not saying for ever, but for an hour or two. Let’s your contacts know that you are NOT AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT. You will be later, and in case of emergency, let them know they can call you and leave you a message. If you work on an office with door, shut the doors and put a sign that say “I’m busy to concentrate on my work. Back in an hour/free at 11am”. If it’s an open space, the same, put the sign on your desk.

Schedule your available time not your busy time.

Let’s your collegue know that if they need you, you will be available at this time. It will often give you 15 minutes more time to concentrate. Let’s say jack need you for a job. If you are online he will jump on you, distracting you from your job. Let’s say now, Jack know you will be available in 15min. He will have time to do other things or to take a break waiting for you.

Renew your energy

That’s not a solution to not taking break. It’s easy to think, doing a full day at your desk will let you have more job done at the end of the day, but that’s false. Staying sit 8 hours, will just give you pain in your ass, literally. Take breaks during your day, take a walk, go to grab a coffee, have your lunch outside, in a park if you like it. But go outside the building, we said a break. Watching video on Youtube, looking facebook wall, or checking your favorite forum and blog, means staying connected, not doing a break (this is considered as distractions as well).

Plan your day

Give you goals for you day work. Reach your goals and see at the end of the day if you can go home happy. It’s all about that. If you reach your day goal you will easily know it’s time to go back home. Tomorrow will be another day and you need to renew your energy to be productive in a long term.

There is few method that help us to manage hour time and work. I’m sure you hear about some of them. The most famous I think is The Pomodoro technique. This technic will give you scope to concentrate and time to renew your energy.

There is another one I want to introduce, it’s called Kanban for 1. Kanban is a framework use to manage productivity in different type of company. First introduce by Toyota, Kanban is now used in software development and other businesses. Kanban drive the production process over a workflow of¬†task and time. Kanban for 1 is the same principles adapt to personal work.
That will help you to manage your time, and your work. Avoiding you doing multitasking, be focus on the moment, and achieve more on a day. You will have plan for your day.¬†You will have visibility about your progression. That will help you to go back home early because you will reach your day’s goal.

So start now, take care of you! Becoming more productive will give you more time, more energy and more room for your family.

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The embeddable success

Do you know the success story of youtube ?

More than providing an awesome way to upload video and offer it to be watch online, Youtube success is all about providing a way to embed the player in any website. During the myspace time, ton of “spaces” had only text, image and songs list. The youtube player came and it allow groups to publish videoclip inside their myspace page. The popularity of this service became what we know now.

Embedding content is now the standard.

Here is some example :

 

etc.

So now you know what you should do, let’s crash the web !

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Kill the n-segment display

Enough ! n-segment display is everywhere for year. I will prove it, but first, do you know what n-segment display is ?

I think pictures are better than long text :

Alarm clock

Or another example :

Yes it is a segment display…

Ok know let’s see someting cool I had when I was a child.

Spell “kill the n-segment display”

So you see now what the n-segment display is. An old school way to display digit and letters with segment ! It was genius. According to Wikipedia, 7-segments display was patented in 1908 ! And it became famous in 70’s.So more than 40 years ago. N stand for different kind of this technology, improvements that allow to display digit and letters with better shape. So there are 7-segments, 14-segments and 16-segments display. The worst with this kind of display is when one bar die. We lost all information, nothing is more incomprehensible than n-segment display that lost one segment.

And you can have a look is not over, everyday we buy brand new stuff that display information in that way.

Let’s see few example :

microwave display

Microwave is not that old appliances that continue to use 7-segments display.

a brand new alarm clock

Such a revolutionary new alarm clock…

Ferrari dashboard

How much do you think cost a Ferrari ? How much do you think cost a small screen ?

http://www.adafruit.com/products/618

That is good enough to replace our ugly n-segment display.

So I think it’s time to innovate in screen and display, and I think about having a smooth digit alarm clock, a smooth digit TV decoder, a smooth display what you want. No more 7-segment display, square digit and square letters please, it’s too ugly.

For years, and more now with smartphone, we can choose the way we will wake up, alarm ringtone, radio, CD, mp3, light, bird,etc.¬†We can choose the color of all our appliances (not sure), the shape etc, but nobody allow us to choose the display device. It could be nice to have choices of the font in our display, as soon as you don’t choose this one !

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