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After nearly a week's worth of 2011 TED Simulcast posts, here are seven takeaways that apply to strategy, creativity, and innovation from the various Day 2 TED Talks presented at TEDxKC:

  • Never underestimate the fragility and apparent simplicity of complex systems. If you're struggling to see simplicity in seemingly complex everyday situations, don't let yourself off the hook. Keep looking for simplicity.
  • It's vital to continually alter your perspective to maintain creativity. Sometimes being too close makes situations look very diverse when they aren't. This is a big challenge for experts when they try explaining things to those us who aren't experts. Other times, proximity may obscure diversity. Innovative thinkers have to be able to be in multiple places at once mentally to be both great analysts and explorers.
  • When you need to figure out a different business strategy, look for adjacencies. What's a more general way of describing your current strategic situation? Once you've figured that out, explore other situations which are different, yet right next to yours when viewed more generally.
  • Learning isn't binary. We don't move from not knowing to knowing something. Learning is iterative. Make as many learning steps (both forward and backward) as you can, as quickly as you can, to maximize your learning potential.
  • Imagination, the interplay between logic and intuition, and the ability to formulate a hypothetical world view are vital to discovery.
  • Aaron O'Connell pointed out we behave differently when we're in an elevator by ourselves vs. when someone else is with us. We all know we get a lot crazier when nobody else is an elevator with us. But while we act differently when no one is watching, increasingly we're subject to being watched much more of the time. To get creatively crazy, it's important to figure out ways to avoid whatever "cameras" thwart your wild mental (and other types of) abandon.
  • It's not just technical skills and determination which lead to discovery. It's about creating and articulating a world view much bigger than you. This is a BIG personal improvement area for me.

And to paraphrase Forrest Gump, "That all I have to say about 2011 TED."

Except that I'm looking forward to digital marketing agency VML and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosting TEDxKC in Kansas City this coming August! – Mike Brown

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