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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 #58

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Welcome to the 58th edition of our Monday Morning Meeting, your weekly collection of Filament news, tools you can use, and interesting ideas that will help you think differently about your week ahead.


MEETING DESIGN SPRINT: We just wrapped four days with a group from Purina helping them rethink and redesign a handful of their most important (or painful) meetings. It was so much fun that we’re going to turn it into a two-day workshop designed for teams looking to reset their meeting culture. Look for more here in the MMM next week!

JURY DUTY WEEK: I’m off to do my civic duty this week so I will be off the grid for a bit. I hope to be wrapped up by Thursday afternoon so I can attend …

FILAMENT FRIDAY ON JULY 19TH: We’ll be doing another Filament this Friday (on July 19th). If you’d like to work with us, share a challenge you’re working on, and/or offer a bit of help to others who might appreciate a hand, you can RSVP here.


Don’t throw away your innovation budget:

Why innovation, and why now? What does success look like? What’s the future vision for our company, and how should innovation contribute to that? Where are we facing the biggest market threats—in the short term or the long term? Will innovation provide services to core business units or will it build new subsidiaries? Your innovation portfolio and your teams will naturally evolve over time, but you can control that evolution by intentionally defining the purpose of the team and the outcomes that they need to deliver.

Looking for a way to encourage innovation throughout an organization? Give out a “Get Out of Jail Free” card:

Give every member of your team two GOJF cards at the beginning of the year. The cards should be personalised to each individual and they are strictly non-transferable (unlike in the game where you can buy or sell them). The idea is this. If you try an initiative which is aimed at improving things for the customer or the business and the venture fails for any reason whatsoever then you can play your GOJF card and no-one can blame or criticize you. You can still analyse what happened and how things might have been handled differently but the card means that the person responsible cannot be blamed for what went wrong. The emphasis is on learning lessons not apportioning blame.

Basecamp (a company I really admire) shares their unique way of working in an online manual originally built for employees titled Shape Up. I can’t wait to dig in and see what we can borrow for Filament! I really like the way they believe Important Ideas Come Back:

It’s easy to overvalue ideas. The truth is, ideas are cheap. They come up all the time and accumulate into big piles.

Really important ideas will come back to you. When’s the last time you forgot a really great, inspiring idea? And if it’s not that interesting — maybe a bug that customers are running into from time to time — it’ll come back to your attention when a customer complains again or a new customer hits it. If you hear it once and never again, maybe it wasn’t really a problem. And if you keep hearing about it, you’ll be motivated to shape a solution and pitch betting time on it in the next cycle.

I can see how using a version of Academic Choice Boards might be a better way to build a conference agenda.

This might be obvious to many, but the framing really struck me — especially as it applies to building better team dynamics and collaboration habits: Designing Your Life Starts with Designing Your Days.

Tyler Cowen shares a list of the intentional things he does to get better every day (he calls them his “Intellectual Practice Strategies.” What would be on your list?

There’s some tough love in this article, Is Your Management Style Killing Your Business — specifically around innovation:

Existing top-down management styles lack the openness necessary to spur innovation; instead being mired in institutional politics, sunk cost arguments, incremental thinking, and an “not invented here” bias.

Ethics lessons illustrated (built?) with Lego bricks.

Infogram looks like a pretty cool tool to create slick infographics, slides, dashboards, etc.


"Growth and comfort do not coexist." — Ginni Rometty

"We need to accept that we won't always make the right decisions, that we'll screw up royally sometimes - understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of success." — Arianna Huffington

"Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart." — Mencius (Meng-Tse)

"Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted." — George Kneller

"It isn't the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get in a position to destroy it. It is those who achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up." — F. M. Young