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Playful and Messy

Christine Richter and Chris McCarthy being playful and messy. 😉

Christine Richter and I just finished presenting a very special WebEx on KP’s innovative nurse shift change called Nurse Knowledge Exchange Plus (NKEplus). The format of the WebEx was a new feature of the Innovation Learning Network to help diffuse innovation across systems. This blog post is not about that, but about one question that really caught my attention:

“what special skills does your group bring to implementation? Meaning what would we be missing if we tried to implement without you?”

The answer is “being playful and messy”. Too often when implementing new stuff, the “serious factor” rises exponentially. There is pervading sense that all must go right and tolerance for the imperfection plummets. And this is exactly what we combat when we implement new ideas. We try to help the end user and management take on a playful and messy attitude. Get them to smile, laugh and stumble….laugh again, and get it a little more right. Official permission for playfulness goes a long way: stress is reduced, and users become more perfect, faster.
So give it at try. You will be amazed at the serious results from being truly playful.

(and smile).

For those of you interested in implementing NKEplus you can signup and get more info here: http://goo.gl/FhwW8

My Perfectly Ugly and Incomplete Ideas

At the Global Jam, a service design challenge this past weekend, the hosts warned the contestants “don’t marry your ideas”.

Good design generally means you’ve had some honest discussion; perhaps with an impartial critic who could care less about your feelings, but does care deeply about your design’s purpose. If you are cringing at the mere notion of “could care less about your feelings” than you already are falling into the “I married my design” trap.

I am guessing that the ability to give and receive a critique is plummeting over time with the acceleration of tools that make work seem polished and complete. You type your words, build your slides, try a few things….and next thing you know you’re the on the pulpit preaching the gospel. If this is you (and this most certainly is sometimes me), we must master the skills of detachment. And we must learn how to divorce our ideas as soon as possible… if not for better design, than at least for personal self worth. You are not your ideas…

Try chanting this before your next critique: “I am beautiful and complete, my ideas may not be.”

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