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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 #53

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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 letting Todd have the week off to rest his drawing hand after a busy three weeks of meetings, so while he’s gone, we’re going to finish up the remodel of our Sprint Space. Look for some pictures next week.


Check out our blog post about the Five Futures Exercise we use to help our customers align on near-term strategy and tactics.


How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler

Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It


Look around your organization and I bet you can find a few examples of Goodhart’s Law: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

We’re going to try a “Lean Coffee” meeting at Filament soon. Here’s how it works:

  • The facilitator sets up a Kanban board with three columns: To Discuss, Discussing, and Discussed.

  • The facilitator states the theme, or primary topic.

  • Participants write down questions related to that topic on sticky notes until their brain is empty. It’s a good idea to have a time limit of 5-10 minutes just in case there are lots of questions rattling around up there!

  • All of the topics are posted on a wall, or on the table, duplicates are removed, and similar items are merged into a conversation backlog.

  • The backlog of questions is read aloud and, if necessary, the person who wrote the question can expand on it briefly.

  • In order to decide on which topics to talk about first, everyone is given two votes, and they vote by marking the sticky note with a dot.

  • The sticky note that receives the most votes is pulled into the Discussing column.

  • The remaining sticky notes are arranged in the To Discuss column based on priority.

  • Each topic is discussed for a set time, often five minutes.

  • After that time, people vote to either continue the discussion for another two minutes: A thumb up for Yes, thumb sideways for Neutral, and thumb down for No.

Need some design inspiration? is a clever new search engine that lets you search by color, keyword, or even style.

Al Pittampalli hits the nail on the head:

Regularly interrupting the day to bring our best minds together to focus on the urgent makes it impossible for these people to spend their focused energy on what's actually important. We have created a culture designed to survive the urgent by watering it down, instead of challenging our best to step up and lead us to do the important.

Here’s a reminder that it is never too late to start a brilliant career.

I love this lesson from Adam Grant about how he still makes time to help people without saying “yes” to every request:

Grant came up with a list of the ways that he can make a “unique contribution.” Now, when he gets a request, it needs to be on the list. If it isn’t, he declines with a “Sorry, but this is not in my wheelhouse.”

These five lessons from history are totally worth a read. The most interesting to me was Lesson #2:

Reversion to the mean occurs because people persuasive enough to make something grow don’t have the kind of personalities that allow them to stop before pushing too far. Long-term success in any endeavor requires two tasks: Getting something, and keeping it. Getting rich and staying rich. Getting market share and keeping market share. These things are not only separate tasks, but often require contradictory skills. Getting something often requires risk-taking and confidence. Keeping it often requires room for error and paranoia. Sometimes a person masters both skills – Warren Buffett is a good example. But it’s rare. Far more common is big success occurring because a person had a set of traits that also come at the direct cost of keeping their success. Which is why downside reversion to the mean is such a repeating theme in history.


"Algorithms are opinions embedded in code" — Beth Kanter

“Make an enemy of certainty and befriend doubt. When you can change your mind, you can change anything.” — Kevin Ashton

“You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” — Shirley Chisholm

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West


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