Hello! You’re getting the email because you’ve either (1) joined The Mighty Minds Club, (YAY!!) or (2) asked to be notified about The Might Minds Club at launch.
This is the ‘idiomatic expressions’ edition. While editing this week’s newsletter, I became aware of an unusually high number of English language expressions. Rather than edit these out (for folks who speak/read English as a second language), I opted to keep them in, but withs links [💬] to definitions. 😬
📆 THIS WEEK: Denise Jacobs
Thursday, October 8th.
I am going see you there, right?!
It’s all official, with an official time and date, and an official registration page.
(Don’t forget to register!)
I took some time last week to read Denise Jacob’s book Banish Your Inner Critic. One of the things I like about this book is how it’s begging to be transformed into a toolkit! Denise?!
Here’s what I mean:
After a chapter setting the stage, Denise identifies five “faces” of the Inner Critic. See if you find yourself in any of these:
The next five chapters are each devoted to one of these faces of the Inner Critic. For each of these faces, Denise goes on to describe a number of “Creative Doses” we can use to banish these negative thoughts.
Hmm. Sounds to me like this could be a card deck? Five faces = five suits. Each card a different Creative Dose… 🤔
Anyway, I’m excited to chat with Denise about this and related topics this week. This will be a hybrid Q&A and AMA, so bring YOUR questions.
📆 NEXT WEEK: “Games and _______” Panel Discussion.
We’ve got a special panel lined up, featuring the Mighty Minds of Jorge Arango, Dan Brown, and Donna Spencer. We’ll be talking about what we can learn from tabletop games. Each speaker will get 10 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of open discussion. Check out the registration page for more details, and to discover that yes, this is probably being held at a time when you can join! (Wed for US / Europe, Th morning for APAC).
With this week’s Question of the Week, I wanted to true up [💬] to the purpose of this group — sharing simple tools for complex challenges. So, with this week’s question, I’m trying to cast a wide net [💬], but this might spawn months of conversations:
Describe a complex problem that you’re struggling with at work.
See, my thinking is we’ll share our difficult situations. Some of these will naturally lead to tools or activities that might help. Or, conversely, we’ll have at least identified some complex challenges in search of tools. Maybe?
The eagle-eyed [💬] among you may have noticed that the three month beta trial quietly expired last week. So, what’s next for ye old Mighty Minds Club?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure.
I’m going to spend the next several weeks reflecting, listening, and learning. In advance of any surveys or DMs, I’d love to hear from you. What have you found valuable in all this? Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
That said, here are a few of my thoughts:
I learned that my “method of the month” idea didn’t pan out [💬] . And… from that point, things kind of unraveled for me! 😜 I still plan on doing more of these reports; in fact, I’ve already started my research for Polarity Mapping. But, I now know that tying these reports (maybe ‘Deep Dives‘ is a better name?!) to a predetermined schedule isn’t sustainable or healthy for me, personally.
I also know this: The Mighty Minds Club has brought together an amazing group of individuals. In all of the possible futures I’m exploring, one thing is constant: the value of this community. Through various DMs on Slack and email exchanges, I’ve met new folks, learned new things, and been challenged (and encouraged) in great ways. That’s priceless. I’m not sure that everyone has experienced this, which I why I’m looking at different services and activities that would make these benefits of community more easy to access and direct.
And, everything else is TBD.
But, it’s all up in the air [💬]. The future is yet to be written…
On Change in Large Orgs
Change is hard, right? Especially change in large, complex organizations. In her Euro IA talk on Sea Change, speaker Rachel Price mentioned a paper that is required reading for all new hires: “Policy Entrepreneurship at the White House: Getting Things Done in Large Organizations”. That kind of endorsement put it at the top of my “to read” pile, which I did over the weekend. If the words ‘change’ and ‘complex organization’ are top-of-mind [💬] for you, then read this. While primarily focused on policy changes in the US government, the sage advice and “axioms” shared in this paper will likely ring true [💬] with your experiences.
On First-Principles Thinking
Ooh, it’s “The Ultimate Guide to First-Principles Thinking”!
In my book on understanding, after three chapters that explore how we activate ‘prior associations’ through stories, metaphors, analogies, aesthetic associations, priming, and anchoring, I pull a 180 [💬] and write about the value of first principles — clear thinking that tries to avoid all these associations. Of course, Douglas Hofstadter would argue ‘it’s analogies all the way down’, but, let’s not go there [💬]. I’ll have to make some time for this, to see what’s been added to the conversation. Or, maybe we should organize a salon focused on first principles? 😉
On Hopeful Futures
This past week, Cory Doctorow shared a twitter thread on hopeful futures, as a counter to the belief that “it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism.” In a completely unrelated thread, Nora Bateson shared a different perspective that emphasizes present relationships and the natural unfolding of things. Yes, both of these perspectives are sound. It’s gotta be a ‘both/and’, right? Reminds me of the goal planning workshops I’ve led, where we emphasize both having a destination (or direction), but also a focus on present habits, beliefs, and behaviors.
Speaking of Futures…
On Futures Tools
Futurist Amy Webb is sharing a full suite of futurist’s tools:
Aspiring/ practicing futurists: You can now access a full suite of strategic foresight frameworks tools on our website. They come with instructions. If you use any, I’m eager to see your case studies.
Yep, that’s right. To “develop a culture of foresight in every organization,” Future Today Institute’s research and tools are now open source. More (futurist) tools for the toolbox!
The following message is intended for my fellow introverts.
I’m going to expand a wee bit on something I shared last week: Getting out of your comfort zone to meet new people.
This past week, I had two meetings (1:1 conversations) scheduled with folks I met at the Euro IA conference. These were both scheduled for Wednesday morning and were the two, remaining calendar commitments that stood between me and a few days off. To be candid, I was kind of dreading these Zoom calls. Not because of the individuals, but simply due to exhaustion. I just wanted some time away. Away from the screen. Away from Twitter. Away from people. Away from the news. AWAY FROM THE NEWS!! I was actually planning to unplug the previous week, immediately after the conference ended Friday morning. But, a quick glance at my calendar reminded me I was a guest lecturer at my friend’s university class that evening (a Friday evening class—who does that?!). “Ok,” I thought to myself, “I’ll rest after that.” Nope, my calendar interjected: “You’re giving a talk at World Interaction Design Day on Tuesday.” Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about that. All good things, for sure, but sometimes you just want to get away from it all! So, here it is Wednesday morning, with two meetings before I can finally (in theory) step away for a few days, to take that break and recharge.
Here’s the thing that’s easy to forget: While getting away is good, so is leaning in; leaning into things when you’re exhausted and would rather retreat. I have to say, I walked away from both of these conversations energized and excited. In one call we talked about games for education. In the other, visual primitives, robots, and book collections! It was a lovely time, but one I had to force myself into. I almost rescheduled these meetings to a later date, but stopped myself. Like the way that a physical workout can bring energy rather than drain it, so can a great conversation.
On various fronts, I’m being reminded again and again of the importance of relationships and community—especially when all you want to do is withdraw and recharge. I founded this club in part to learn from others; these moments were reminders of that value.
So, find those people that might bring you energy, and reach out. Have that conversation. You never know what you might learn. Or how you might feel better, after.
Oh, and I did get some time away on Thursday and Friday (not as much as I would’ve liked, but… that’s on me). I spent some time—sans screens—reading Denise’s book, in preparation for this week’s salon. You have registered, yes?!
This week’s quote comes by way of Sir Patrick Stewart—just go listen to him read it! 🥰
“Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.”