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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Your Big Idea Worth Spreading

    Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the TEDx Detroit conference. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and is a gathering of leading artists, entrepreneurs, educators, designers, thinkers and doers who share their “big idea” worth spreading. Meeting in locations all over the world (the x factor), this Detroit gathering included people who offered bright ideas in a variety of areas. Here is a sampling of the ideas presented.

    Elio MotorsPaul Elio of Elio Motors believes that mobility is one of the primary roadblocks to individuals getting a job and thereby overcoming poverty. So he designed a 2 seater vehicle (one seat behind the other) priced at $6,800 that gets 84 miles per gallon. While that price seems very reasonable, he went a step further and devised a financing plan whereby the purchaser uses an Elio Motors sponsored gas card, and each time they get gas, he charges them three times the actual amount. This overage is applied to the principal cost of the vehicle, making it self-financing.

    Alden Kane is a high school senior and student inventor. He’s committed to improving peoples’ lives by combining science and service, and believes that proprietary ideas are the future of science. And so he accepted a challenge to design a “wheelchair stroller” for a local mother. Sandwiching time to complete this between his academic and extracurricular activities, he came up with a novel solution to a common problem for millions of new parents who are confined to wheelchairs. Now he’s looking for angel investors, and a more user-friendly name for his invention.

    Sharina Jones was the beneficiary of Alden’s creative genius. A victim of a gunshot wound at age 7, she now teaches people to think beyond the chair, to live past their disabilities and to live a functional life. She sets the example as Miss Wheelchair Michigan in 2011, author of The Life of a Push Goddess, and founder of a charity that brought wheelchairs to Panama. She challenges others to change the lives of one person, a community or the world; and now has a means of carrying her new baby boy with her. Continue reading

    Ideation Space

    Cheng-Yung Kuo Photography / Courtesy Ideation Studio

    Cheng-Yung Kuo Photography / Courtesy Ideation Studio

    Ideation space. The optimal environment where you form ideas or thoughts, where dreams crystalize, desires are birthed, problems are solved, and creativity blossoms. A place where your senses are heightened as you connect deeply with your inner motivations and interests, and block out external distractions. Purposefully spending time in this space requires disconnecting from the daily demands of the urgent and immediate, to connect with the important and meaningful. It involves moving from the emotions of the moment, to reflecting on the underlying values and beliefs that govern your life. Time spent in your ideation space can rejuvenate you to become more productive, focused, and innovative. Continue reading

    Passion: Blinded or Balanced?

    Passion-Blinded (200x145)Ann Marie Sastry has a big idea. With over 70 patents and 80 scientific publications to her credit, she describes herself as a “happy warrior who’s driven by doing the next new thing.” That drive leads her to put in 100 hour work weeks and spend over two decades in pursuit of developing new battery technology application for use in electric vehicles. She’s scrapped the traditional chemical lithium technology to rethink the basics of energy, power, mass, volume, cost and safety, all in search of a new approach. She’s also raised $30 million from a variety of backers in support of her grand idea.

    Sastry has an entrepreneurial zeal for her product that compels her to pursue any and every approach and perspective to accomplish her goal. She has a passion and optimism for success that propels her forward, and expects that within a year or two her product will be in full production. But for every successful entrepreneur, there are many more whose dreams never turn into reality. That’s because the same passion that propels her forward with a clear focus on success, can be blinding to others and cause them to miss the obvious cues that unfortunately their grand idea won’t get off the ground.

    Continue reading

    Creative Self-Confidence


    David Kelley’s goal is to build world class designers. He’s the founder of IDEO, a Silicon Valley global design firm whose objective is to create impact through design; and the Stanford “D” school which trains students from various disciplines to incorporate design thinking into their work. Kelley’s firm is known for designing some of the most intriguing ideas, such as the first computer mouse for Apple, the defibrillator that talks to you during an emergency, and the stand-up toothpaste tube. They have expertise and capabilities in brand building, health and wellness, medical products, digital experiences, and business design, to name just a few.

    His underlying premise is that everyone is creative. We simply stop displaying our creativity as we grow up and are encouraged to conform to established norms around us, and therefore it ebbs away. Kelley works with his students to develop and release this creative confidence again; to help them learn to try new things. According to an interview with Charlie Rose in a January 6, 2013, 60 Minutes feature story on IDEO, one of the ways he gains new design ideas is by watching people. Kelley is empathetic to understand what they really value and how they operate in their environment, and his team interviews people to see what they think and feel.  Kelley builds world-class designers who in turn design break-through inventions.  He builds teams of individuals from vastly different backgrounds and leverages their differences to create new solutions, even in areas where they have no natural expertise.


    Creative Steps

    David Kelley’s work is fascinating, but everyone won’t have the benefit of working with someone of his caliber.  So how can you develop a team with a greater creative self-confidence? Consider these tips.

    ·        Thinking environment – Most of us operate in a “doing” environment. We establish processes and routines around what we do and how we handle situations. This creates efficient systems but robs us of the possibilities of improvement and creativity, because we fail to stop and “think” about how we could operate differently. In a “thinking” environment, people are encouraged to reflect on what’s happening, why it’s happening, and alternatives to the current state that will help us reach the desired outcomes. When one person in the team does this, he or she may be considered difficult to work with.  But when an entire team or organization takes time to think through certain situations, they can stimulate break through ideas. Collective ideas make progress.

    ·        Spirit of curiosity – Accepting the status quo limits our thinking. What if the Wright brothers had simply accepted that no one had been successful in building a flying machine, and therefore stopped trying? There’s always pressure to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, thus conformity becomes the enemy of creativity. All of the inventions we depend on today (like my iPhone, iPad, laptop, etc.) are the result of someone having a spirit of curiosity about how things might work if we just kept trying different alternatives.

    ·        Emphasis on quality, not quantity – Ultimately, one is always sacrificed for the other.  It’s impossible to have an equal balance of both. But at some point, in the development of every new idea or plan, a decision must be made on which one is more important. The appropriate emphasis on quality has the potential to yield a more creative outcome when you consider broader alternatives.

    ·        Nurturing new ideas – Some companies pay lip service to programs soliciting suggestions from employees. They fail however to commit sufficient resources to evaluating these ideas, and to fully engage the organization in valuing different perspectives and approaches. Though only a small percentage of ideas may be workable, the process of getting creative juices flowing and nurturing ideas, creates a stimulating environment where employees are more likely to explore alternatives.  In the 60 Minutes piece, Kelley described growing up in an environment where when something broke, he was expected to take it apart and find a way to fix it. This environment nurtured the creative genius in him. Similarly, Hackathons, first popular in Silicon Valley, provide a nurturing environment when groups of people come together to solve a problem, or develop new solutions or technology.

    ·        Interact with different people – You’ve heard that Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. So it stands to reason that if you hang around with the same people, or people just like you, then you’ll probably keep thinking the same thoughts.  This is natural for most of us because we’re attracted to people who share similar interests. But if you want to stimulate creativity, find people to talk with who have different perspectives. Find people who have different expertise, interests and ways of doing things. Throw a problem into the discussion and open your mind to learn from their different approaches to solving it.  You can bring together a cross disciplinary team at work to solve a problem (yes, ask a finance person to help you solve an engineering problem), or give you new ideas on how to approach it.

    Most of all, to build creative self-confidence in their teams, leaders must look for opportunities to identify and reward creativity in the behaviors of those around them. Even when the results aren’t as practical or useful, recognize the effort and encourage others to replicate it.

    Think again about the computer mouse.  Nothing like it existed before. Consumers weren’t used to this type of device. The design had to be simple and intuitive, and they had to consider eye-hand coordination with the visual screen, along with the look and feel of it. That’s creating something out of nothing.

    So how have you exercised your creativity lately? What are you inspired to do differently? Have you placed yourself in a different environment so that you can see things from a different perspective? Developing creative self-confidence begins with you, and then you can spread it to others. So hurry up and start now so that you can nurture others around you.

    Watch the 60 Minutes video here.

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