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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 #51

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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.


This week, we’re working with the entire leadership team of one of our city’s oldest institutions to help them think together better about their place in a future dramatically different from today’s.

Next week, we’ll be in Portland, Maine to help redesign a conference that’s gotten a bit long in the tooth. Let us know if there’s anyone there you think we should meet (or restaurants we should visit)!


Here’s another of our favorite #FilamentalThinking posters featuring a quote by Orin Harari: “The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.” Follow this link if you’d like to download a .pdf version and print one for yourself.


I’m not sure this quote by Robert Anton Wilson (found here) would fit on a poster, but it seems such a great way to kick off an innovation session:

Every fact of science was once damned. Every invention was considered impossible. Every discovery was a nervous shock to some orthodoxy. Every artistic innovation was denounced as fraud and folly. We would own no more, know no more, and be no more than the first apelike hominids if it were not for the rebellious, the recalcitrant, and the intransigent.

We often push people to share their “stupid ideas” along with their great ones, because most underestimate the novelty of their own ideas. This article in HBR takes a deeper dive into ways to overcome our bias against our own ideas — and one simple method to compensate for the higher value we assign to ideas from our managers:

[A]sk your ideators to evaluate their idea after a break and in a different location. In addition, ask your evaluators to look a bit more critically at ideas pitched by managers or teams—these ideas are already favored because of their creators’ power or because of common expectation of superior team creativity. Conversely, be a bit more sympathetic when evaluating ideas from front-line employees as these are much more likely to accurately evaluated by the people who came up with them.

This is some seriously great advice from Seth: Ask others who use our work tools well to share the ways they use them better.

It’s possible that the ‘I’ll learn it later’ shortcut you took a few years ago is now a significant time tax on your day, every day. The solution is fun and simple: find a smart person and have them watch you use the computer for an hour. She’ll share ten shortcuts and principles that will amaze you. And then you can return the favor.

Lots to like in this interview with Jeff Bezos, but my favorite is his love of the Latin phrase gradatim ferociter:

[I]t means step by step ferociously and it’s the motto for Blue Origin. Basically you can’t skip steps, you have to put one foot in front of the other, things take time, there are no shortcuts but you want to do those steps with passion and ferocity.

Need to survey your team? Here are 32 great questions to help you find out just how engaged they are. The three I love most:

  • Have you been confused by any recent decisions at the company?

  • Are you proud of how we treat our customers?

  • Do you crave more depth in any area of the work you do?

This is the weirdest GIF I’ve seen in a long time — and I can’t stop watching it.

I’m pretty sure we need one of these boom-box suitcases at Filament somewhere, don’t you?

And finally, Let’s Go Blues!


“Be First And Be Lonely.” — Ginni Rometty

“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.” — Albert Einstein

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” — Douglas Adams

“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller

“Everything is within walking distance if you have the time.” — Steven Wright

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” — Henry Ford


If you’d like to subscribe to the Monday Morning Meeting or see older issues, you can do so here.