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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Five Lessons on Innovation/Quality Inspired by and for Homeland Security

Posted by Plish on December 31, 2009

With the recent near catastrophe in the skies, I propose that the US Government look at its terror security system as a Quality System (i.e. A system that supports high quality, terror free travel.)


Because, whether it realizes it or not, it creates/manufactures a  system for safe travel of  its citizens.  At its core, terror security is about minimizing defects (attacks) and maximizing efficiency (ease of travel).  It’s basically a Quality System.

Therefore, there are certain things that should inherently be done within their quality system (and yours as well!).

1. Don’t wait for disasters to highlight the weak links in your system.  The system that tries to prevent terrorist attacks needs to be under constant improvement and so does your ______________(insert quality, manufacturing, etc.) system.  If there are no disasters, you need to challenge your system before something happens. 

2.  First line people (think Customer Service, Regulatory, Sales)  need to be empowered to make certain decisions on their own as opposed to forwarding information to another agency/group where that information is then sifted through, etc.  The more important something is with regards to safety (product or personal) the less layers there should be in transferring information, not more.

3.  Truly effective systems should become less dependant upon individual human perspectives and opinions as they evolve.  There should be no “key person” dependencies, or even key department dependencies.  Yes, people are able to interpret nebulous information better than many automated systems, but if information is key to quality, you better make darn sure that the right people are interpreting the right information in the right timeframe.

4.  “It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry” – Nikolai Gogol.  Systems are the mirrors of our thoughts, wants and fears.  Yes, you can blame a system but in the end it’s not the system’s fault.  Accept responsibility for constantly improving the system; it can and must be constantly improved. 

That’s where innovation comes in.

Innovation occurs when people are encouraged to change the system they live within, looking at that system with fresh eyes, day after day, after day, after day…

Encourage engagement, encourage innovation.

It’s simple really.

5.  Don’t let politics/political-correctness influence your quality system.  It’s called a ‘system’ for a reason.  If  someone’s first reaction is to protect or blame when there’s a failure, that’s a dead giveaway that your system is becoming politicized.  Don’t freak out about it.  Just fix it and don’t let it happen again.

What do you think about these five points?  What would you add?

Posted in Best Practices, Conveying Information, culture of innovation, innovation, Politics, problem solving, Quality Systems, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

10 Suggestions for Getting Healthcare Discussions on Track – We Need Politicians to Be Innovative!

Posted by Plish on August 18, 2009


Healthcarewneweyesa michaelplishka2009We hear politicians speak of innovation yet they fail to live innovation themselves; they fail to find creative ways of working together to make the healthcare of this country better, of designing systems of healthcare that meet the needs of the most (that incidentally cover the politicians as well as the people) in the most sustainable ways possible.  Oh, as a point of clarification, the status quo is also not sustainable so it is not a solution.

To that end here are some suggestions for getting the healthcare debate on the right track:

1. Hold brainstorming meetings on Capital Hill with bipartisan groups.  One condition exists: NONE of the proposals thus far penned are allowed in the discussions. (I’ll be happy to moderate)

2. All legislators are required to work for one month minimum finding ways of meeting the needs of the constituencies on the other side of the aisle.

3. Instead of reinventing the entire system, find the gaps in the current healthcare system and fill those.  One way to find the gaps is to write an obituary for 5 years down the road for the US and its healthcare situation.  Chances are the things that bring about our demise are due to gaps of some type.

4.  The 102 Idea webpage in Illinois is something that every State should be implementing.  Ideally though it should be bi-partisan.  Rule #1 on those pages: NO Complaining about a situation or about what others are doing.  Rule #2:  No patting your Party on the back.

5. Create a list of the best things that other Countries and States do related to healthcare. Combine them to create something new.

6. Create a list of the best programs in other States/Countries not related to healthcare.  What can be learned from these programs and applied directly or modified to the healthcare situation in the US?

7.  How would a poor Third World Country solve our healthcare crisis? Use this exercise to generate ideas.

8. Create a list of the strengths and weaknesses in our current system.  Come up with solutions that maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.

9. Create a list of the facts regarding healthcare and stick to these at all times.  An orthopedic surgeon does not make $40,000 per procedure to amputate a foot.

10. Last but not least, the beginning of the solution: Agree on a problem statement.  The problem statement is not: “Health care is running us into the ground,” or “Insurance companies are making too much money.”  A working problem statement invites solutions; they are phrased positively as in: “In what ways might we….” 

It might also help to keep in mind what John F. Kennedy said: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

Let’s get to work!

Posted in creativity, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, Health Concerns, Human Rights, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Politics, problem solving, Sustainable Technology, Traditional Brainstorming, ZenStorming | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Funding Innovation – A Plan That People Will Support

Posted by Plish on February 24, 2009

(Michael Plishka 2009)

copyright 2009

I don’t remember who it was that turned me on to this Facebook group.  Whoever it was, “Thank You!”

The plan is simple: Provide millions of dollars to fund start-ups through venture capitalists (or other efficient mechanisms) instead of trying to bailout the BIG Failures (GM, etc.).  If even a small percentage of these start-ups hits, that’s some major job creation. 

No hocus pocus, no waste…Just innovation at work.

Thomas L Friedman over at the New York Times wrote this  op-ed piece that consolidates and solidifies the plan. Says Friedman:

If we are going to be spending billions of taxpayer dollars, it can’t only be on office-decorating bankers, over-leveraged home speculators and auto executives who year after year spent more energy resisting changes and lobbying Washington than leading change and beating Toyota.

I personally am in touch with multiple start-ups in the High-Tech and Medical markets that are screaming for funding.  A million spent on each of these would do more than a billion in the pockets of GM.

What are your thoughts on this innovative plan and use of tax payer money?

Posted in culture of innovation, Disruptive Innovation, Entrepreneurship 2.0, Funding Innovation, innovation, Politics, Start-Ups | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

We Need Innovation in Government – Share Your Ideas!

Posted by Plish on February 12, 2009


Original B&W from brentoons.com

Original at brentoons.com


New CEO says we must innovate and create new opportunities.

There is agreement from Senior Management that this is true, but disagreements over methodology.

Meetings come and meetings go. Arguments ensue over where to put money and resources.

CEO tries to rally all those around her :

“Look, these are difficult times and we need to stop the bleeding.  I know every plan isn’t perfect but if we keep bickering and arguing we’ll pass the point of no return. Bottom line: I was picked to lead this company and I have to do what I believe is right. The buck stops here!”

“Anyone who argues by referring to authority is not using his mind but rather his memory.” Leonardo da Vinci

Plan is not communicated well enough to create buy-in through the ranks. In fact, there’s doubt plan will even work. Personal agenda items seem to creep into discussions. Innovation is something that is expected to occur once plan is in place but there’s doubt.

Plan gets pushed through.

Half-hearted support throughout the ranks results in serious stalls. Those at lower levels are talking at the lunch table:

“Man, with the new CEO you would think something would change around here.”

“What did you expect? The CEO can only do so much. She’s got all those other folks around her that still think the same old way.”

“And, act the same old way.”

This company is in trouble. So what should management do?

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” -Albert Einstein

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” -Albert Einstein

This failure of an innovation initiative is Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Creative Environments, culture of innovation, Disruptive Innovation, Great Creative Minds, innovation, Innovation Metrics, Politics, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Creativity, Love and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Plish on January 20, 2009


We often think of creativity and innovation in terms of the needs of business.  Yet, in everyday life, people are continually being creative, risking and innovating.  This type of daily creativity, driven directly by the needs of others can result in powerful innovation and the betterment of humankind.

This beautiful story of graciousness is about a man, who upon seeing a guest at his table eating peas with a knife, also eats peas so as not to make the guest feel badly. 

What the man in the story did was more than graciousness, it was  Love – a profound, deep act of love that was willing to break rules of etiquette so that the other person would feel acknowledged, respected…

… loved.

Dr. Martin Luther King (whose birthday we just celebrated) once said of this love in his sermon, “Loving Your Enemies,”

“(this deep love) is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love…”

He uses the word “Creative” and it is fitting. 

There were many ways the man in the story could have taught his family about loving others, about respect, about graciousness, yet in a moment’s twinkling he led by example, in simplicity, by eating his peas with a knife!

Dr. King continued:

“…when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life.”

 Truly powerful words and they should be taken to heart. 

While Love creates an environment of creativity, hate inhibits creativity because it destroys the core of the human which is called to Love.  A person who is diminished in this way is not operating, creating, innovating from a position of power, but from a position of weakness and frailty – the person is no longer being authentic to the depths of human beauty.

When there is a lack of beauty within, the corresponding lack of an authentic generative creativity leads to a world  devoid of innovation, devoid of graciousness, devoid of justice, devoid of peace, devoid of Love.

So next time you’re struggling, lacking in creativity, try digging deep and seeing everyone, including yourself, through the eyes of Love.

Posted in Authenticity, Creativity Leadership, culture of innovation, Great Creative Minds, Human Rights, innovation, love, Nature of Creativity, Politics, problem solving, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Obama and Innovation

Posted by Plish on November 6, 2008

Will President-Elect Obama Stay True to Science Funding Promises?

Will President-Elect Obama Stay True to Science Funding Promises?

President Elect Obama’s science policies can be read here.  While there is an exciting desire to double investments in research over 10 years, I wonder how much of that will transpire given the current economic environment.  His acceptance speech seemed to leave an ‘out’ regarding the difficulty of getting everything done that he wants to in these trying times.  One can only hope that science gets an improved shake in the new administration. 

Read more what the folks at Innocentive think about the plan.

Posted in innovation, patents, Politics, Science | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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