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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Climbing Out of Our Way: Innovative Thinking + Bathroom Blogfest 2011

Bathroom Blogfest 2011 Three blog articles from Bathroom Blogfest 2011 had me thinking about innovative thinking and how to break through hard-held assumptions that prevent us from effecting positive change [see Switch, Climbing Out, Social Media and Change: Bathroom Blogfest 2011]. In other words, how do we climb out of our own way?

I really enjoyed Denise Lee Yohn's advice in note to ceo: take a crap. It's not too dissimilar from Walking in Her Shoes. But, more intense, gritty, real and effective. One of the wonders that the tools of social media offer is the opportunity to listen to what's being said. Not just about us, but about our category, how we fit into customers' bigger picture. Through tweets and blog posts and Facebook updates, we may humbly absorb what's being said and how we fit in. From there we can figure out how to do things better - assuming we care.

The same exists in the real world; we just forget about it or don't take the time or assume it doesn't matter. So, take note and take a crap!

Speaking of assumptions, Bruce SandersClimb Out of Mistaken Assumptions marvelously highlights how assumptions can be totally wrong. Have you encountered a similar situation? How did you discover that you were mistaken?

Isn't it interesting how important communications is? For exploring assumptions and forcing realizations? How do you communicate with your constituents? What methods do you use? Which media have you found effective?

Joseph Michelli's post about Zappos and You’ve been Faced at the Bathroom Blogfest 2011 reminded me of Bathrooms: The best place to communicate to employees [note: be sure to read the comments]. It worked for Joseph! Kudos to Zappos for being so innovative and practical in communicating message. After all, media for communication aren't always digital or even traditional. 
Finally, this FastCoDesign article titled Ideo: How to Turn Social Taboos Into Innovative Products is filled with fascinating insights on innovation based on mistaken assumptions. My favorite has to do with how to reach people who don't even realize there's a solution to their problem. 

In a world where providing value has to do with answering people's questions through remarkable content, how do you craft that content when the person you can help doesn't know which questions to ask?  This is true for the taboo as well as the mundane.

Answer: we listen intensely for those golden insights - with minds purged of mistaken assumptions and open to possibilities... We climb out of our own way.

Here are two favorite bathroom scenes to help you in climbing out.

Ruprecht in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels [click here for link to YouTube]:

And Dennis the Menace raiding Mr. Wilson's bathroom at about the 5 minute mark [click here for link to YouTube]:

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2011!


  1. Enjoyed your post and I really agree! It is so difficult to break through hard-held assumptions even in small businesses. We know our business better than anybody, right? What we 'know' is often an assumption and we stop listening and the communication breaks down.

    Your advice is golden: Listen, open your mind, and you can climb out and provide a better customer experience!

    Thanks for your insight and Bathroom Blogfest support.

  2. Bill,

    I love how you capture that!

    Yes, it's so easy to stop listening... Ironically, it's sometimes painful to be reminded to listen again.

    Thanks for being part of the Bathroom Blogfest experience!



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