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Generally , people prefer to talk in the language of ideas rather than problems.

Organisations don’t like admitting that they have lots of problems, but they sure are happy to tell you about all their brilliant ideas.

Ideas though, at least the good ones, have to be rooted in a problem. If your idea doesn’t solve a problem for someone, it’s useless.

Plenty of ideas fall down because:

  • Not enough people share the problem
  • The problem isn’t validated — it either doesn’t exist or hasn’t been defined well enough
  • Someone else has an idea that has solved the problem better, faster or at far less cost. …

People tend not to break rules when they are emotionally invested in them

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How do you rate yourself for complying with Covid restrictions? Are you saint or sinner? Or are you, like most of us I suspect, somewhere in between?

If you’ve noticed more traffic on the roads when you’ve been out walking or exercising, you could be forgiven for thinking that people aren’t taking this lockdown quite as seriously as the first one.

At first glance the statistics seem to bear that out. According to data provided by Citymapper, journeys during the first lockdown fell to less than 10% of pre-pandemic levels. This time round however, things are slightly different. …

An open mind is our greatest advantage because it costs us nothing and rewards us with plenty

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A new year is usually the time where we leap off the sofa and out of the house, attempting to reset our lives and put straight all the things we failed to do the previous year.

2021 is different — as many of us will start the year spending even more time on the sofa and in the house.

Last year was a wake up call for me as I started the year with lots of resolutions and ideas for the next 12 months, and then found out that the world had an entirely different plan.

When bigger forces take over your life it can be easy for us to give up control and become a bystander. But in reality we still have agency over our lives , and have many opportunities. In fact, when life gets reset or derailed there are often more opportunities, even if we can’t clearly see them. …

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Pandemics, it turns out, may not be so great for creativity, but they are kind to bloggers.

This was the best year in terms of readership of this site by some way, with nearly three times the visits of 2019.

I began the year (again) aiming for 52 posts, and managed 36 — which isn’t a bad haul given I had to have medical treatment for nearly 8 months. Social media and the digital world get a lot of stick — but it’s been a genuine lifeline for many this year. I don’t think I’d have made it through the other side without some of the support and inspiration I’ve found online. …

Thwarting other people’s control is bad for us and society — as ultimately, it limits our own control.

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Political language. . .is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind George Orwell

2020 on reflection, was a great year for hierarchy.

In the early stages of the pandemic the ability shown by organisations to mobilise emergency health care, communicate messages, shift people to remote work, was a testament to the power of decisive command systems.

Following that we saw a new era of community innovation begin, reminding us of the power of social connection. People began supporting and caring for one another locally, with community led groups popping up to address immediate needs in ways many organisations simply couldn’t. …

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Despite little evidence of any real impact, every year millions of pounds are spent gathering customer and colleague feedback.

95% of products and new services launched this year will fail — and it won’t be for lack of satisfaction surveys. Through myriad questionnaires and phone interviews people will have been asked to articulate what they have experienced in the past rather getting to the core of what they truly need.

It is difficult for us as users , of any service , to think in abstractions or envision a new concept.

There is little evidence that we can even predict our own behaviour. We don’t necessarily know why we make decisions. …

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Yesterday I did a slot with Ian Wright on Innovation and Failure as part of Digital Leaders Week , so I’m recapping some thoughts for future reference.

Whilst our organisations publicly evangelise innovation they are less tolerant of a necessary part of the innovation process — failure.

Failure is a necessary part of the innovation process because from failure comes as part of learning, iteration, adaptation.

Instead our organisations have become very successful at defending themselves against failure through the construction of multiple layers of defence. …

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Since the pandemic started, we have all spent a greater share of our time confronting difficult questions. Most of those questions are not immediately answerable. It hasn’t even been a year since the virus was confirmed so being able to predict its long term effects on our mental health, our relationships, our behaviours , even our future, is nigh on impossible.

How do we know if a trend is caused by coronavirus, or if it would have happened anyway?

The typical approach of many companies will be far too slow to keep up. Postponing decisions to wait for more information might make sense during more normal times, but postnormal , surrounded by imperfect and conflicting information, waiting to decide is a decision in itself. …

Back in 2011 , Bromford was starting out on a journey of using social media.

We really didn’t know where to start.

I’d been using Twitter for a couple of years in a personal capacity but didn’t know what I was doing or whether it added any value to my life or anyone else's.

I came across this guy called John Popham who at the time had about 2,500 followers, which I was amazed at (I think I had 10).

Why would so many people follow ‘John from Huddersfield’ — a normal bloke going on about dog walking, beer, trains, tech for social good and the benefits of digital inclusion?

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Remember the good old days of the early lockdown?

A time of communities discovering or rediscovering vital social connections.

A new found appreciation for public institutions and the people who keep our local shops and services running.

A sense of going to back to basics and spending more time on the relationships that truly matter.

The initial stages of the pandemic seemed to disprove all the reports of the decline of trust. On the contrary , we showed remarkable trust in our leaders, both at national and local government levels. …


Paul Taylor

Innovation Coach and Co-Founder of @BromfordLab. Follow for social innovation and customer experience.

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