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The Filament Blog


We all suffer from a profound case of “Idea Surplus Disorder” at Filament — and we think that’s a good thing. Here are some of those ideas we’d like to share with you.



Monday Morning Meeting #47

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Welcome to Filament’s Monday Morning Meeting: a mix of Filament news, the tools we use, and the interesting ideas to help you think differently about your week ahead.


Did you know Filament will deliver great meetings away from our space in downtown St. Louis? This week, we’re hitting the road to facilitate three workshops in New York City for our friends at ILTA.

The one I’m most looking forward to is ILTAVATION, a sold-out, one-day innovation “how-to” workshop that incorporates everything we’ve learned with our clients about making real innovation happen in large organizations.


One of the tools we’ll use in NYC is a worksheet designed to help teams build a “how might we” question before immediately trying to solve their challenges. Check it out here.


Want to open a meeting with a fun icebreaker? Try this one:

“If you could only use three condiments for the rest of your life, what would they be?”

After you’ve opened your meeting with the condiment conundrum, here’s a great way to close it from Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up:

End your weekly meeting by asking each attendee to sum up with a word or phrase of reaction. It creates a formal closing for the meeting, ensures that everyone’s had a chance to say something, and gives you a window into what people are thinking and feeling.

Anyone who’s gone through any sort of transformation at work knows that George’s First Law of Digital Transformation is painfully true:

Technology changes quickly, but organizations change much more slowly.

This law is the reason that digital transformation is more of a leadership challenge than a technical one. Large organizations are far more complex to manage and change than technologies. They have more moving parts, and those parts, being human, are much harder to control. Technology systems largely act according to their instructions, and technology components largely do what they are designed to do. But human systems are very different. While it’s relatively straightforward to edit a software component or replace one element with another, it’s nowhere near as easy to change an organization.

I’m really digging Five Books, a collection of five recommended books on hundreds of given topics curated by experts. I’ve already added this list on the impact of the information age by Nicholas Carr to my reading list.

This is a tremendous way to get better at making decisions: Keep a Decision Journal:

Whenever you’re making a consequential decision, either individually or as part of a group, you take a moment and write down:

  1. The situation or context

  2. The problem statement or frame

  3. The variables that govern the situation

  4. The complications or complexity as you see it

  5. Alternatives that were seriously considered and why they were not chosen (think: the work required to have an opinion)

  6. A paragraph explaining the range of outcomes

  7. A paragraph explaining what you expect to happen and the reasoning and actual probabilities you assign to each projected outcome (The degree of confidence matters, a lot.)

  8. The time of day you’re making the decision and how you feel physically and mentally (If you’re tired, for example, write it down.)

Austin Kleon shares a quite from Brian Eno about preparing for the future and remaining a Curious Elder:

The revolutions of the future will appear in forms we don’t even recognise—in a language we can’t read. We will be looking out for twists on the old themes but not noticing that there are whole new conversations taking place. Just imagine if all the things about which we now get so heated meant nothing to those who follow us… Whatever happens next, it won’t be what you expected. If it is what you expected, it isn’t what’s happening next.

Finally, Rob Walker challenges us to change our mind about something this year:

Make an effort to question things you believe. Maybe "intellectual humility" comes down to noticing or attending to things you'd previously overlooked or ignored or just flat-out failed to understand or even register. That could mean noticing what has changed — even if what's changed is something about you. Think about what you take for granted. Challenge it.

If your organization had to change its mind about something, what would it be?


“Books are good at telling stories and bad at guiding us through knowledge that bursts out in every conceivable direction, as all knowledge does when we let it.” — David Weinberger

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.”  — Georg Lichtenberg

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”  ― Mary Shelley

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”  ― Andy Warhol