Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter, Issue 5

Innovation does not come about purely by accident. It requires an understanding about us and the talent that comes with the innovation team. In the fifth edition of ThinkInnovation, we will explore these concepts, and in knowing, I hope you become more aware of your strengths and the ways you may go about leveraging them for innovation in your organisation.

Many idea generating devices are capable of producing many creative ideas for the organisation. However, the disconnection is in the organisation’s inability to harness sufficient amount of means and resources to support and fund all these ideas.  

Therefore, organisations must choose to support opportunities that could be executed within their means in order to place themselves in an advantageous position in their marketplace.

In this section of the newsletter, the 2(3) Idea Selection Method is shared. This is a post-ideation technique for selecting suitable ideas that could be turned into quick-win projects.

The method categorises ideas according to their potential attractiveness to the audience of a target market, and prioritises the attractive ideas along the capabilities of the organisation in bringing them to its designated market.....  

Read more  >    

To create opportunities for greater professional development and personal growth, facilitators could consider including reflective practice in their facilitative processes.

According to Bolton (2010), to generate developmental insights, one needs to reflectively and reflexively examine his facilitative practice by ‘paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform' him of his facultative actions.

Instead of formal education or training, the facilitator acquires and enlarges his knowledge, skills, emotional and experience bases in facilitation by staying in action – that is by…..                                                 

Some people are more capable of generating a class of ideas and find it easier to navigate through a particular phase of the Innovation Process. We call this inclination our ‘Innovation Attitude’, and there are four of such attitudes.

Successful innovation teams have a healthy balance of these four innovation attitudes amongst its members. This way, each member, whose innovation attitude is needed the most at a particular stage of developing an innovation, could be called to come forward to lead the teams and seek the breakthroughs they need to move the project forward.                                                                                        

When someone was asked what innovation is, we typically would hear people describing it as something unique, breaking through, and valuable.

However, there are over 60 different ways of defining innovation, and together, they share six broad themes.


·      Could occur anywhere in our society, in any part of our organisations, and even in our daily lives. As long as there is a problem that does not go away, an unusual approach will be needed to change the situation

·    May come in different shapes and sizes to bridge different expectation and performance gaps so that stakeholders could receive greater returns in the things they want accomplished with what they have

·      Requires different types of social actors who would use personal techniques, methods and processes to navigate the innovation through the systems 

Nowadays, more People Managers are practicing the concept of empowerment with their employees.

Empowerment of employees at the workplace is about providing them with opportunities to make their own decisions with regards to their tasks.

The three keys principles of empowerment are:

·     Building trust by sharing information with everyone so that they get a clear picture of their organisation and its situations

·        Opening to discourses on the things that may hold themselves back from being empowered by creating autonomy through boundaries

·      Replacing the old hierarchies with self-management so that the employees take ownership of their own future in their organisations

Empowerment is simply the effective use…..         

Ideas are the source of improvements, innovations and inventions. However, some ideas may take more effort to generate, are difficult to come by, and more valuable than others.

Here is a simple self-assessment instrument which may help you uncover the innovation attitude you have towards a type of ideas and a step in the innovation process. 

Print and Complete this Self-Assessment Here >                               

The fifth edition of ThinkInnovation was created and

produced by Anthony Mok on 31 Dec 2012.

Copyright 2012. Anthony Mok. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 7, 2011

ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter, Issue 4

In the fourth edition of ThinkInnovation, we will explore the methods, processes and systems of innovation. We will explore a method that helps us think about our thinking. Flowing from this, we will examine process of populating the collective wisdon of the crowd. Finally, we will look at a white paper that explains the system of making innovation happens in a 60,000-strong organisation.

Created by Bob Eberle in the 1970’s, SCAMPER, which comes in the form of a checklist of idea-spurring questions, helps you think outside-of-the-box when you encounter a challenge.

SCAMPER is based on the notion that everything new is a modification of something that has already existed. Each letter in the acronym – SCAMPER, represents a way the characteristics of the challenge are manipulated until new ideas are created.

The technique is easy to use and surprisingly.....

Read more >

The facilitator is first and foremost a consultant at heart even though he is to lead generative conversations by their processes rather than through their contents during the facilitated sessions. This means an effective facilitator has two roles to play. During the facilitated session, the facilitator uses the language of facilitation to mine the collective knowledge, experiences and wisdom of the gathered crowd.

The successful mining of the collective wisdom of the crowd depends on the accuracy of the questions we pose to them during the discussions. When we asked the wrong questions, the participants will focus their cognitive energies in the wrong things, and ultimately we get the wrong answers and.....

Read more >

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) Singapore has long been recognised as a forward looking agency that leads change in the public sector. In 2001, the Ministry decided to embark on her biggest transformation to meet the demands of the 3rd Generation Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) or the ‘3G SAF’. The Ministry had identified innovation as the key enabler in this transformation and aggressively pursuit its application to achieve her new goal.

The MINDEF Innovation and Transformation Office and the MINDEF Innovation Programme were conceived to realise this single objective.

In three phases, the programme uncovered the big picture, searched for the missing pieces, and.....

We know the value innovation brings to organisations. It could provide us the access to compete in traditionally unavailable markets. It could also create blue ocean markets that earn us supernormal profits.

Although the word 'innovation' has been widely used in our national discourse since 2000, this does not mean that its true meaning is fully appreciated and understood. It remains a jargon and big word even for the most educated person in our society. When asked about innovation, we typically hear people describing it as something new, unique and original. However, .....

Read more and post a comment >

There are many reasons why innovation fails to take off after much of the fanfare introduced at its launch. One key reason is that the owners of the innovation do not think through their longer term strategies, and when conditions change, they either lack the disposition or resources to allow them to sustain the diffusion of the innovation to reach its critical tipping point, where the change could take place without further interference from the owners

Thinking strategically involves looking not just at the past and present, but also at the future. Only after the successful completion of this phase could we strategically plan for the future. In short, regardless of the innovation introduced, strategic thinking helps you anticipate changes in the environment, and plan for them so you are prepared and.....

The first time I have learnt about IDEO was in 2001. I was totally impressed. I told myself that I would like to work in such a company or transform my organisation to resemble what IDEO has to offer

Inspired by what I have seen, I had included the ‘Shopping Cart’ video into the programme for a 200-participant strong conference that celebrated the efforts we had made in continuous improvement.

Subsequently, I have researched, practised and written extensively on what becomes as the key success factors of innovative organisations.

In the 10th article on this subject, I have written about the importance of Tag Teams in innovation.

Read this >

Here are two self-assessment instruments which may help you uncover the health of your teams (sign into your facebook account first and then click on to each of these numbers)…

Complete this (1) & (2) >

The fourth edition of ThinkInnovation was created and produced on 15 Aug 2011

and launched by Anthony Mok on 7 Nov 2011.

Copyright 2011. Anthony Mok. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter, Issue 3

When we talk about innovation, we usually think about an innovative product, service, process, or strategy. Rarely do we think about life; the way we lead our life. In the third edition of ThinkInnovation, we will explore the concept of facilitation and coaching in innovating our lives, and their implications on the types of lives we could create of ourselves and for the people around us……

'Think outside the box' is one of those management jargons that has been wildly circulated and widely used in many learning communities in the world.

But what does it really mean? What is the 'box' mentioned in the phrase? We have included an 'outside' in the maxim, how does the inside looks like? Since we know we need to 'think' to get out, then what kind of thinking should we use to do that?

After years of teaching others how to think creatively, I find the best way to answer these questions is through learning and using the creative tools to experience what thinking outside the box really means.

Assumption Reversal Method, which ideas are triggered from assumptions that are reversed from those currently ruling the situation, is an excellent ideation technique that enables us to obtain such enlightenment.......
Read more >

The facilitation of learning is very different. In this instance, the source of wisdom is with you. You are recognised to have the capacity to enrich and enlarge the body of collective knowledge within your group. The role of the facilitator is to provide you his skills of unlocking this wealth of individual experience, knowledge and insights, and transforming them into a collective one. He does this by reading the interactions and motivating you into exchanging your thoughts with each other, and helping you reach a consensus over what you want to do with your collective learning and insights.

To effectively accomplish these, the facilitator needs to know how the brain creates insights, understand the science behind the enrichment and enlargement of collective wisdom, and be aware of the predictable behavioural responses in group interactions. I call this aspect of facilitation the ‘Psyche of Facilitation’...............
Read more >

Quiet Leadership
Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work
David Rock

ISBN 978-0-06-083591-0

You want your team to crack the challenge it is currently working on and you think you know what it should be doing. You had expected the team to come up with some breakthroughs after the meeting but a week later you found that the members are still not making any headway. You are beginning to feel very frustrated with each member of your team and wondering if you should be the one working around the problem instead.

Sound familiar?

One of the hardest challenges in managing performance is changing the way people think.

Supported by the latest research in the functions of the brain, Quiet Leadership provides a brain-based approach that helps you improve your own performance and those of your colleagues'.

Quiet leaders are masters in bringing out the best performance in others. They improve the quality of thinking amongst people without telling any of them what they should do. Quiet Leadership gives you the clarity that comes from using and mastering powerful insights that make us perform and succeed at the highest level.........
Watch this Video >

Organisations may use a number of interventions to improve the performance of individuals. These may include teaching, training, facilitation, mentoring, and counselling. Coaching is one of such interventions but its principles, approaches and techniques are distinctively more self-directed. People are meaning making machines and tend to be derailed in their performance, In this 2-day programme, you will uncover the key elements of coaching for innovation...... Read more >

Our career may be progressing smoothly with our goals largely achieved and our future career prospects remain bright. However, it is not guaranteed that we are forever successful at our workplace and in our work life. We could be hit by a snag that slows us down or even halt our advancement entirely.

Sometimes, we are aware of these when we saw our peers progressing ahead of us but often we do not know the way out of the situation. At other times, we only know we are unhappy and stressed by events that we feel we have no control over but yet we are never able to pinpoint accurately the source behind these.

When you are afflicted by these experiences, it means your career may have been derailed and you need to know how to put it back on track............ Read more and post a comment >

The Career Derailment Wheel is an instrument that helps you uncover the status of your career in your organisation and suggests the parts in your life that may need further attention.
This profile highlights the drivers that may help explain the challenges you may be facing with the growth and development of your career. This could be used as a early warning device informing you of your propensity for derailment.
Each driver is coded to provide you with a colour indicator of the likelihood of you being derailed in your career and the drivers behind this propensity. It could also used to highlight the prevailing reasons for the slowing down or halting in your career progression.
So, what the health of your career?
Here is a self-assessment instrument which may help you uncover the health of your career…………… Download and complete this >

The third edition of ThinkInnovation is created and
produced by
Anthony Mok on 14 Oct 2010.
Copyright 2010. Anthony Mok. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter, Issue 2

In the second edition of ThinkInnovation, we will explore the concept of ‘Real’ and ‘Fake’ work, and their implications on the types of innovation we create for our organisation and society……

A typical brainstorming session, one where participants are asked to think and write down ideas that may be considered as solutions for a given challenge, does not usually generate breakthrough ideas. While the session produces a good volume of ideas, the ratio between usual ideas and creative ideas leans towards those that are already largely known. This empirical observation points to the limits of typical brainstorming sessions in generating unique ideas.

Why do we face such dynamics? This is because most brainstorming sessions are organised as idea dumping rather than idea creation sessions. By idea dumping, participants are encouraged to recall and release ideas that they already had. This is far from doing idea creation. While we cannot discount the value of these ‘already had’ ideas, they are still nothing more than old ideas.
To generate real ideas in brainstorming sessions, we need techniques that force us to think outside the box and Visual Connection is an ideation technique, which ideas are triggered from words associated with images………
Read more >

A few years back, on a wet and cold December afternoon, someone asked me a question, "Anthony, is asking the participants how they feel about the facilitator or trainer, delivery of the course content, ambience of the training venue, and quality of the refreshments a good way in helping me determine whether I should continue running a programme with a particular vendor?"

“Yes”, I said without hesitation. "After all, is this not how the industry reports the 'Return of Investment' of the workshops, training courses and developmental programmes it conducts for its clients?"

A month later, I was not so sure. I think there is another way to do this - a way where we could look beyond the 'impression management' and focus on real training outcomes and results. Less about blaming the trainers or facilitators for a failed performance and more about looking at the failure holistically and examining the role the organisation has to play in enabling transference of learning back at the workplace…………
Read more >

Recently, I have delivered a 3-day Strategic Planning Workshop, using the principles of 'Real Work', to a group of managers from a large public sector organisation.

This is an interesting workshop. It shows that we work very hard to produce results without realising that the outcomes that we are producing have nothing to do with moving the organisation one step closer to its vision.

Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson, the authors for ‘Why People Are Working Harder than Ever but Accomplishing Less, and How to Fix the Problem’, called this kind of activities 'Fake Work' because it is not aligned to any of the key strategic thrusts of the organisation and it contributes nothing towards the organisation’s long term goals. We are busy to show that we are productive. We are busy so that no one accuses us of skiving. We are busy so that management thinks we are worth the money it pays us. We are busy because we are busy. This is a business that wastes energy, time and money.

'Real Work' is activities that create an impact in securing the future of the organisation. Most of us could easily distinguish the theoretical differences between the two kinds of work. However, few of us know how to do 'Real Work' and stay away from 'Fake Work'.

Find out more about 'Fake Work' and what it means to be doing 'Real Work'.............. Watch this >

It is not natural that teams will succeed. They need to be really set up for success. Balanced Dynamics InnovationTM is a proven approach that has helped organisations increase their propensity in getting innovative solutions from their innovation teams. The approach addresses the challenges of bringing the right capabilities and capacities into the team and at the same time overcoming the difficulties of keeping the team members, with very diverse backgrounds, long enough to bring their innovative solutions to the market.

At the end of the workshop, you will be able to:

  • Gain important insights into your team’s current work preferences and dynamics. We all display different preferences at work. Some of us prefer to think while others prefer to do. Our work preference affects the way our team mates perceive us and impact the ways we contribute to our teams. So, what is your work preference? Do this quiz and find uncover your 'Work Preference Profile' at work
  • Uncover the key missing skills that affect your team’s resilience. The ‘Linking Skills Profile may reveal what is missing in your skill set……….Do this Quiz >
  • Leverage on the capabilities of your team to identify opportunities for innovation
  • Use your Challenge Statements to visually connecting to your ideas
  • Reach a consensus over the ideas that are most suitable for the Challenge
  • Win by identifying the Force Fields that may derail your innovative project

When we do improvements to a product, service or any other things, we are making an attempt to increase or reduce something related to it. This could be an increase in terms of the product or service's performance or its consistency in delivering its desired outcomes or the value the creation process brings to the consumers. Improvement could also come in the form of a decrease in the externalities the product or service brings to the environment or society, or a reduction in the complexities of moving it through its value chain or in lowering of prices the consumers have to bear for these products and services.

There will be costs in bringing about these benefits and the organisation will continue commit to doing improvement up to the point where the costs of the improvement equals to the benefits derived from it. This means that there are real diminishing returns in all kinds of continuous improvement.

However, what is the driver for this and what could we do given this reality? To appreciating these, we have to first understand the natural laws that govern the technologies that create……
Read more and post a comment >

By extending the concepts of 'Fake Work' to the other aspects of our lives, we should begin to notice that there are all kinds of work that we have busily manufactured around us that are utterly meaningless and useless.

We may have worked towards a professional qualification because we were sold to the idea that it will increase our chances of receiving a promotion and better renumerations without knowing how the knowledge and skills gained from the programme is going to significantly enhance our overall potential for employability in the long run. We may have being hopping from one life coach to another to look for guidance to transform our lives without realising that we are borned whole and complete, and are capable doing great things. We may have worked very hard to complete a project within the given budget and deadline only to find that it could not exponentíally position the organisation in the market better than it was before. These work are all fake. Our efforts contribute nothing to our own well-being and that of our society, organisation, and economy.
We may be seen to be innovating even though in our heart we know that we are just dressing up our products and services with improvements to pass them off as innovations no matter how seriously important a real innovation meant to the life and death of your organisation.

So, have you being faking work in your efforts to innovate?

Here is a self-assessment instrument which may help you find out if you have been 'Faking’ your work for innovation……………................................ Download and complete this >

The second edition of ThinkInnovation is created and produced by Anthony Mok on 16 Jan 2010.
Copyright 2010. Anthony Mok. All Rights Reserved.

Preview - ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter, Issue 2

The 2nd Edition of ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter will be launched in Feb 2010....

In this edition, we will explore the concept of ‘Real’ and ‘Fake’ work, and their implications on the types of innovation we create for our society.

This preview was written on 2 Mar 2010.
Copyright 2010. Anthony Mok. All Rights Reserved.

ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter, Issue 1

The first edition of ThinkInnovation - The Newsletter can be found in this link.

ThinkInnovation, The People Behind Your Breakthroughs - The Newsletter

ThinkInnovation, The Newsletter, is the official newsletter for ThinkInnovation, The People Behind Your Breakthroughs.

The purpose of this newsletter is to present the thoughts behind ThinkInnovation, and its efforts to create a better tomorrow for individuals and organisations.

Here is a company brief of ThinkInnovation, The People Behind Your Breakthroughs.

Name:  Thinkinnovation, The People Behind Your Breakthroughs

Short Description: ThinkInnovation, The People Behind Your Breakthroughs

Description: The idea behind ThinkInnovation was mooted in 2002 when the founder created the MINDEF Innovation and Transformation Office to apply creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship as technologies to change and transform the 60,000 personnel in the Ministry of Defence (Singapore) and the Singapore Armed Forces into thinking soldiers and defence executive officers. Subsequently, ThinkInnovation was founded in 2009 to bring these breakthroughs to the rest of the world.

Mission:  Create sustainable individual and organisation breakthroughs by building personal creative competencies and enterprise-wide entrepreneurial capabilities.

Founder:  Anthony Mok

Awards: DAG Excellence Award (Innovation), awarded by Mr Lim Hup Seng, Deputy Secretary (Administration), Ministry of Defence, 2002

Products:  The ThinkInnovation Breakthrough System is the anchor of ThinkInnovation, which guides individuals and enterprises in building sustainable breakthroughs.

Please contact ThinkInnovation for a conversation about the ThinkInnovation Breakthrough System.

Phone:  +65 97645381


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This blog was 1st created on 2 Mar 2010, and update on 18 Jan 2013.
Copyright 2010 - 2013. Anthony Mok & ThinkInnovation. All Rights Reserved.