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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 #52

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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 putting the finishing touches on a “Meeting in a Box” we’ve designed to help a client bring their Digital Transformation message to a global IT team and building the agenda for a Global Innovators Summit in Boston for our friends at Venture Cafe.

We’ll also be in Portland, Maine helping to redesign a conference that’s gotten a bit long in the tooth.


If you’ve got “Idea Surplus Disorder” like we do, you might appreciate this tool from our blog that will help you Quarantine Your Best Ideas:

Whenever I have a great idea, I capture it so I don’t lose it, but then I wait at least 90 days before I give it any more of my time. This “compulsory” waiting period keeps me from starting work on a poorly-formed idea I’ll later lose passion for. It also gives me time to think about the idea and socialize it with friends and colleagues. If I’m still enamored with it once the 90 days have passed, it goes straight to the top of my “To Do” list.

By creating a process to postpone and ultimately resurface the ideas I have, I’ve learned to devote more energy working on what matters now, knowing that if my new idea still feels as “shiny” in 90 days as it does today, we’ll both be ready for a long term relationship.



Want to be more creative? Use your heart!

“The reason it works is because empathizing, or thinking about someone in an emotional way, leads to more cognitive flexibility,” says Herd. “Cognitive flexibility comes in when thinking about new ideas and new pieces of information as you brainstorm.” Basically, that mental agility helps you consider many possibilities and iterate on ideas more fluidly.

So how can you leverage empathy to be more creative? Just spend 30 seconds or a minute thinking about someone else and how they must feel–that can be anyone from the user for your next product, to a relative for whom you need to buy a Christmas gift.

Here’s why we’re always trying to ”crisp up our napkins” at Filament:

People don’t go to an expensive restaurant just to enjoy crisp napkins, no the food quality should be right in the first place. But the small details are important to remind and reassure your customer or investor that they made the right choice (there is always that nagging insecure voice in the back of their heads that tells them they are “suckers” who have been taking for a ride at a silly high price).

Christopher Hitchens explains an unexpected benefit of writing a book:

The great thing about writing a book is that it brings you into contact with people whose opinions you should have canvassed before you ever pressed pen to paper. They write to you. They telephone you. They come to your bookstore events and give you things to read that you should have read already. It’s this dialectical process that makes me glad I chose the profession I did: a free education that goes on for a lifetime.

Speaking of writing, here are a few tips for establishing a daily writing practice.

As we get ready to launch our Sprint Space here at Filament, we’re building in many of these lessons from IDEO about Innovation Labs. two favorites:

Language: Instead of words like “policy” and “process,” [use] words like “guidelines” or “drumbeats.” They don’t get attached to job titles or hierarchies. No one “reports to” anyone. Instead of “leaders,” they use the term “stewards.” This is not a small point—words matter in defining expectations on a daily basis. It sets the tone for how we expect people to behave.

Team time: Start with fewer meetings. Makers or designers need long, uninterrupted time to think and create. Maker teams protect this time by negotiating their own hours. Most teams collaborate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with early and late hours reserved for administrative tasks. Status update meetings in the middle of the day are going to wear on your productivity time.

Pexels is an easy-to-use tool to find free stock photos and videos.

Who doesn’t want a Hot Wheels Xylophone? Also, this 1930 video of gears and machinery is mesmerizing.


"You manage things; you lead people.” — Grace Murray Hopper

"Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different." — Indra Nooyi

“Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” — Margaret Wheatley

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." — Eleanor Roosevelt

"There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start." — Charles Baudelaire

"We have approximately 60,000 thoughts in a day. Unfortunately, 95% of them are thoughts we had the day before." — Deepak Chopra

“I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t.” — Dee Dee Myers


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