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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 #49

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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.


We’re about to launch our first “Workshop Week” later this summer. Though we’re still working through the details, here’s a quick Twitter thread that sets out the main idea: an industry-agnostic week to work at Filament to launch something for your biz that includes inspiration, peer support, and expert resources.


A question we ask our clients to help uncover hidden challenges and surface potential conflict is: What “elephants” will your group bring into the room (because everybody brings at least one elephant)?


Do people pick apart your ideas too quickly once they’re shared? Here’s an idea from the Ten Faces of Innovation:

I encourage the executives… to “squint” a little—to ignore the surface detail and just look at the overall shape of the idea.

I’d never heard this story, but it humorously captures why organizations don’t always adopt obvious changes:

A gentleman walks up to a farmhouse. On the porch is an old man sitting in his rocking chair, and next to him is his old dog. The old dog is moaning, so the gentleman asks the old man why. “It’s because he’s sitting on a nail,” the old man replies. “Why doesn’t he move?” asks the gentleman. “Because it’s not hurting enough for him to move.” (from Gino Wickman’s book Traction).

Perhaps we shouldn’t start with a “clean sheet of paper” after all:

That clean sheet of paper is one of those business cliches that sounds wise, yet conceals more than it reveals. The point of the clean sheet is to eliminate assumptions that no longer serve their purpose. But you can’t surface those assumptions without understanding the existing environment.

It isn’t the assumptions you see that cause problems, it’s the assumptions you miss. Better to have a fully marked up sheet of where you are actually starting and know what obstacles need to be addressed than to trip over something hiding behind the whiteness.

I’m a reader, and usually have three or four books going at once, but this advice from Ryan Holiday really hit me:

Pick three or four books you’ve already read, that had a big impact on you, and read them again. We all spend too much time chasing what’s new and not enough time really digesting those heady, important, mind-blowing books we’ve already read.

Has your organization hit the OK Plateau? Maria Popova shares the definition (originally from author Joshua Foer):

Think about typing: if practice time were all that mattered, over the course of our professional careers, with the millions of memos and e-mails we type, we’d all progress from the lowly chicken peck to 100 words a minute. But that doesn’t happen. We reach a level of skill we deem to be acceptable and then simply switch off the learning. We go on automatic pilot and hit one of the most common ceilings of achievement: we hit the OK Plateau.


“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” — William Penn

“The main virtue of a first sketch is that it breaks the blank page.” — Kevin Ashton

“The deep-rooted assumption that authority should equal responsibility is the root of much organizational evil.” — Jeff Sutherland in Scrum