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The very best don’t have to turn it on. It’s always on. They have to turn it off.
Your weekly dose of new ideas & inspirations.
Hey, Pritesh here.
Welcome to those who joined us recently in this journey of discovering new ideas & inspirations.
We’ve reached post #109. Here’s a quick glance of what do we cover today:
🧠 Better brainstorming
🎮 Sandboxing and other design lessons from games
⚔️ Lazy man quadrant
✈️ Best of storytelling with airline safety videos
🌛 Goodnight nobody with 99% invisible
And much more…
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And with that, let’s dive in.
1. Better brainstorming
Brainstorming is one of the most common tools in problem solving these days. But, every attempt to ‘brainstorm’ leaves a lot to be desired. It rarely brings something out of the ordinary to light. And not doing it makes one feel like they are living in a non-inclusive, premeditated solution driven culture.
Erica Hall’s essay “Brainstorm questions not ideas” gives some good insights on what’s wrong with most brainstorming approaches and how it can be done better.
As the title suggests, the focus should be on finding the right questions. Answers can follow. It’s not an easy task. Erica says:
Getting together and listing every question you can think of about a problem, a process, or a situation is uncomfortable at first, and then in very short order enhances collaboration, decreases risk and puts you on the path to being a learning organization.
That’s been one of the most critical lessons for me in recent years. I have spent too much time fixated over the solutions but it’s actually the question that makes all the difference. Erica has an interesting way to guide us to this truth.
Known unknowns are interesting and manageable. Unknown unknowns will jump out and bite you.
Finally, she gives one added advantage of fixing the ‘problem space’ in the overall problem solving.
Priming your team to be thinking about the same important questions in the same words will lead to better collaboration and more insights in a shorter amount of time. Also, it's a good way to increase comfort with admitting ignorance.
"I don't know…" should be easy to say long before you start down the path of "How might we…".
(via Storythings newsletter)
2. Lessons from Game Design
Karl Purcell’s essay on “Behavioral game design” shares 7 lessons from game design that are highly useful for product design in general. These are based on behavioral science and are effective mechanisms in changing or shaping user behavior. I found the concept of sandboxing most intriguing and worth expanding here.
Sandboxing is when you allow the user to try out a key behavior in a simulated environment or protected area (sandbox) that closely mimics what would happen if they were to enact that behavior in the real environment of interest.
By allowing this ‘practice’, we are able to remove many fears that’s holding back the user from doing a fair (and involved) trial.
3. Lazy man quadrant
Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord’s ‘lazy man’ quadrant is an interesting & almost counterintuitive view on leadership.
FS Blog did a short essay titled “Why lazy and smart people make the best leaders” simplifying the mental model.
Essentially, it’s a 2x2 matrix on intelligence & energy of a person. You get the following 4 type of people based on this structure: stupid and hard-working, stupid and lazy, intelligent and hard-working, and intelligent, and lazy.
Equord recommends that “anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.”
Nick Parker drew the following grid summarizing the model.
Image source: Nick Parker’s post
It’s an unusual approach, and may sound outrightly stupid. Spend a few moments thinking about it and you will know it’s actually quite smart. Not easy to follow, but can be impactful if done well.
4. Storytelling in airline safety videos
Some stories & content formats are so predictable that you almost ignore their sheer existence. “Airline safety videos” are one of those things. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Singapore airlines’s videos on my recent trip. There is beautiful storytelling in this video that made me watch it every time they played it.
I was planning to write about it in one of these posts. Backspace newsletter’s recent post gave me 4-5 more reasons to do that today itself.
It shares many other exciting examples of this from other airlines. Each one is a masterclass in storytelling and shows us how even the mundane thing can become interesting when storytelling is done right.
I am sharing them all here:
1) Turkish Airlines “LEGO movie safety video”
2) Air New Zealand's “Most epic safety video ever made”
4) Vistara’s “Inflight safety video”
Which one do you like the most? Or if you’ve any other favorite, share in the comments.
One question that remains unanswered is “why do these guys invest in such storytelling?” When the usual can do the job, why do more than the usual?
5. Children’s library
99% Invisible podcast’s recent episode curated a bunch of interesting stories with the children’s book “Goodnight moon” at its center. Here’s a partial list:
Origin of the book “Goodnight moon”
History of public library systems in the USA and the birth of children’s rooms in those.
Profile of Anne Carroll Moore, a librarian who played a significant role in the business of children’s books. She deserves a netflix special, I must say.
I had not read this book, so ordered one right away. It’s a fun read and can be added to the must-haves for those with young children.
The part about public libraries' role in growth & development of kids is something that’s been stuck in my head ever since. I don’t recall using public libraries, but have seen the magic of lending libraries in my children’s life. We have been going to a children’s library - Hippocampus - for the last year and a half and that’s been one of the best things we’ve done for our kids. I wonder how many kids (or even adults for that matter) are able to get access like this to the beautiful world of books.
The business of lending libraries looks interesting and would love to know more about it. I would love to make something in this direction in the near future, hopefully. If you have anything relevant to share, please do share.
6. Light reads
Some interesting posts & essays that are well worth reading.
“The rhythm of your screen” by Christopher Butler. Two key ideas from the post:
Scrolling is an inattentive act. Scanning is partial attention. Reading is focused attention.
Scanning is a reaction; reading is a choice. The majority of people who look at your screens will never read their contents.
“Pique-a-boo” by Seth Godin. Seth repeats his magic with smart wordplay & super sharp writing.
“10 thoughts from the fourth trimester” by Tim Urban. If you know Tim Urban’s work, you know what to expect. If you have not read him, then please start right away.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
See your identity pieced together from stolen data. This is a scary piece. See step by step how your profile is built online using the data available online. 🙁
Fredrik Axling’s instagram feed (fredrik.axling) is a beautiful array of street photography magic. Such powerful visuals! (via Dense Discovery)
A controversy in 2015 caused Google to take some hard steps in their image recognition & labeling algorithm. And because of that, Google’s photo app still cannot find Gorillas in a photo. They are not the only ones, by the way. Apple, Microsoft & Amazon fail at it as well. (via Benedict Evans)
The title of today’s post is from a recent post on FS Blog.
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That's all for this week, folks!
I hope I've earned the privilege of your time.
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