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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 #61

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


OUR SPRINT SPACE IS OPEN! Our new Sprint Space is open for business. If you’re looking for a creative space to work with your team for a week or a month — and might appreciate some Filament services to help you — check out our new Sprint Space.


This one comes from a Meeting Design Sprint we hosted in July:

At the end of every meeting create two lists: “The Decisions We Made” and “The Decisions We Need.”

On the first list, capture the specific decisions you made in the meeting and the details for each.

On the second, capture the decisions you need from elsewhere in the organization and then assign the responsibility to go “find” that decision (along with the when, the who, and the how) so your team doesn’t get stuck waiting on someone else.

Every time the leader of your team has a meeting with her leader, she should bring your team’s master list of “Decisions We Need” with her so she can ask for the decisions and/or help finding them.


Here’s an interesting exercise to spur innovation on your team that has many similarities to our Five Futures exercise.

At your next team meeting, pull out a pad of paper, turn to an empty page, and divide it into three columns. Each one corresponds to a question relevant for innovation:

  1. “What is the existing practice/the recipe for success/the way we’ve always done it at our organization?” Jot your thoughts down in the left-hand column, including the key beliefs or assumptions underlying the practice. Then look critically at each of them and ask yourself if any are on the verge of becoming anachronistic or obsolete.

  2. “What market shifts, external forces, or technologies might threaten the elements of our operational status quo?” List these in the middle column.

  3. “What can we do about these impending disruptions you’ve uncovered?” For each one, use the right-hand column to note some preemptive action you could take. Sometimes you’ll want to tweak an existing practice to render it “disruption-proof.” Other times you’ll need to toss it out and start from scratch.

Stuck? Give this idea from Seth a try:

When you’re feeling stuck with your project, grab three index cards. On each card, write down an element of the project that, if you invested time and money, would change for the better. If those three things happened, if those three elements improved, what would happen to your project? Okay, now that you’ve got all three… what are you going to do about it?

Some advice on advice:

Only take advice from those people who are experts, who have recently done something similar and who were perhaps a little unwilling to give the advice. This might mean they simply weren’t thinking about it before you asked them. Spontaneous advice will often be superior to the advice someone has been giving for some time.

I’ve bookmarked How to Be a Better Writer to come back to again and again when I’m stuck in my writing. So many simple ideas, but here’s a favorite I’ve already put to use:

In your last pass, change the font to something unfamiliar. Then change the font size. When you’re familiar with a piece, your eyes gulp whole passages and you miss typos. New fonts focus your eyes on each letter.

Here are nine interview questions that would provide some great conversation starters for your current team. Imagine asking this one and then blocking an entire day to “see” their answers:

If you had an entire work day with no meetings, obligations, or interruptions – what would you do?

This is a sobering reminder from Tyler Cowen that we’ve all got to put the work in:

Recently, one of my favorite questions to bug people with has been “What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practicing scales?” If you don’t know the answer to that one, maybe you are doing something wrong or not doing enough. Or maybe you are (optimally?) not very ambitious?


"The world is not made of atoms. It is made of stories." -- Muriel Ruykeser

"The real difference between telling what happened and telling a story about what happened is that instead of being a victim of our past, we become master of it." — Donald Davis

"A lost coin is found by means of a candle; the deepest truth is found by means of a simple story." — Anthony De Mello