MMM #13

Happy Monday. Welcome back, we hope you had a great weekend! 

The Idea:  To Stop Checking Your Phone, Use "Don't" and not "Can't"

“Don’t” is a declarative statement about what kind of a person you are. When you say you “don’t” do something you give yourself the power to have made the decision not to do that thing. When you say “can’t” it feels as though some external force is telling you you shouldn’t be doing this thing. The way human motivation works and the way human decision making works is that we do much better when it’s something that feels like it arises within us. We don’t like being told what we can and can’t do.

The Quote:  "The culture of an organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate." - Gruenter and Whitaker

The Video:  A masterclass in how to build suspense from Inglorious Basterds.

Time-Boxing and the Minimally Viable Cat

Paul Dawson at Fluxx shares a great example of a constraints-driven exercise he calls "time boxing" to deliver a lesson on the power of constraints. After asking people to draw a cat in only 15 seconds -- he finds that their rushed drawings are all still pretty recognizable as a cat (my 15-second attempt is above).

He suggests that giving people a shorter amount of time doesn't make them draw something different, they just draw the same thing, only more elaborately:

Try time-boxing tasks (and particularly discussions) that seem hard, or decisions that take too long, and see what happens. You will almost certainly get as far as you need to in whatever time-box you allocate, and it will help you sift out what is important, and what is not.

Next time you're trying to get to the essence of something with your team, make sure you ask yourself if you really need more discussion time to make it perfect, or if you'll get the same insights from your minimally viable cat in a fraction of the time.

MMM #12

Happy President's Day!  It's time for another Monday Morning Meeting. Ready to go?

The Idea:  If you sleep 8 hours, you have about 1000 minutes left in your day -- essentially 100 ten-minute blocks.  How are you using them?

It’s always good to step back and think about how we’re using those 100 blocks we get each day. How many of them are put towards making your future better, and how many of them are just there to be enjoyed? How many of them are spent with other people, and how many are for time by yourself? How many are used to create something, and how many are used to consume something? How many of the blocks are focused on your body, how many on your mind, and how many on neither one in particular? Which are your favorite blocks of the day, and which are your least favorite?  Imagine these blocks laid out on a grid. What if you had to label each one with a purpose?

The Quote:  “It is surprising how much one can produce in a year, whether of buns or books or pots or pictures, if one works hard and professionally for three and a half hours every day for 330 days." - Leonard Woolf

The Video:  How Movie Sounds are Created

Monday Morning Meeting #11

Happy Monday!  We're ready for another great meeting to kick off our week.  How about you?

The Idea: I couldn't agree more with Austin Kleon that a notebook is the perfect place to have bad ideas:

Spend some time with it every day. Fill it with your bad thoughts, your bad ideas. Tell it all the things you shouldn’t tell Twitter. It won’t judge you, troll you, or talk back to you. It won’t spy on you, ping you, or notify you. When you’re done with it, you can burn it for heat, or you can save it for your children, so they know what it was like.

The Video:  Every Best Cinematography Winner Ever


The Quote:  “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”  – Dalai Lama XIV

The Book:  Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Intelligence in the Smart Machine Age by Edward Hess:


"We will not flourish along with smart machines by ourselves. It is going to be an otherness game. It is not going to be a competitive game. It’s going to be a collaboration game. New Smart is a new way of thinking, to define yourself not by what [you] know or how much [you] know, but by the quality of [your] thinking, listening, relating and collaborating." Link to Interview



Innovating Anonymously

At Filament, we're lucky enough to help our clients tackle their challenges during their meetings.  Because of the nature of our space and our methodology, all the work we do is face-to-face.  

However, there are some ideas that might best be shared anonymously.  TED is teaming up with Audible to do just that, with their Sincerely X podcast for "ideas worth spreading [that] remain hidden because people can’t speak publicly about the very thing they feel the world needs to hear?"

Sounds super cool. I can't wait to tune in!

FacilitationMatthew Homann
In Defense of Generalists

Jorge Barba rises to the defense of generalists, and I think he's right -- and not just because I'm a generalist.  He calls out a problem we've encountered with our clients at Filament:

Today more than at any moment in time, organizations want innovation; but reject creativity. Think about that. The funny thing is the only type of innovation that comes from specialization is incremental, and that has an expiration date. The longer you improve the same thing, the fewer improvements you make. It’s why all organizational failure is self-inflicted: a failure of imagination that results from the curse of knowledge.


It takes a Generalist or jack of all trades to make connections across disciplines and stimulate creativity; the type that is disruptive and game-changing.

I also absolutely love his idea to create a "Challenge the Status Quo Day."

Culture, CreativityMatthew Homann