the anthropologist

How We Start Every Project, Being “an Anthropologist” // eps 58 #inthelab

When we start projects at StratLab we like to understand the organization we’re working with, the best way we’ve found is to be what David Kelly would call The Anthropologist. The most success we’ve had (and still have) is really getting to know an organization. Going to the Annual General Meeting, Christmas Party, Golf Tournament, Fundraising dinner, basically anything they will invite us to we’ll go. You get to know people on a different level when you see them out of the office in the “wild”. Don’t ever be afraid to get out from behind your laptop to do some hands-on research.

One of the most successful projects we worked on was with the Regina Police. It was an internal marketing strategy where we were to change their core values, vision and mission to better reflect their current culture. It took Six months longer than we thought because we really didn’t want to rush the research process of interviewing every level of different Police officer. It was amazing

From David Kelly’s 10 Faces of Innovation, the Anthropologist is the face of discovery and understanding.

To observe without judgement. To develop an empathetic understanding of the organization. You must look at the tiniest of details, the most mundane things can have a major impact on what the end consumer takes away in their experience.

From the book:

The Anthropologist is rarely stationary. Rather, this is the person who ventures into the field to observe how people interact with products, services, and experiences in order to come up with new innovations. The Anthropologist is extremely good at reframing a problem in a new way, humanizing the scientific method to apply it to daily life. Anthropologists share such distinguishing characteristics as the wisdom to observe with a truly open mind; empathy; intuition; the ability to “see” things that have gone unnoticed; a tendency to keep running lists of innovative concepts worth emulating and problems that need solving; and a way of seeking inspiration in unusual places.

Look into a company as if you were Sherlock on a case

look-into-a-company-as-if-you-were-sherlock-on-a-case

Asking questions, becoming very curious, always asking “why” and never excepting “that’s just the way it is here.” The Anthropologist needs to uncover the hidden story behind what the client isn’t telling them. Remember what Sherlock Homes said, “the devil is in the smallest of details.” -or something thing like that. The little things matter. Pay attention to the little things.

Create a company “idea wallet”. Much like your wallet that you carry money around in, your companies idea wallet is where you think and pitch ideas.

how-do-you-get-to-know-an-organization

How do you get to really know an organization? 

By asking questions of course you silly nilly!!

Any question that leads you closer to the central purpose of that organization, generally it’s not your run of the mill questions that are going to get to the bottom of things. People never simply open up to you, you must gain their trust first. Be positive, listen to their answers, and be very respectful (no judging). You need to get creative, the more out there the question is, the more people have a chance to show you their personality. See some ideas on research questions you could use.

Vuja De thinking (from Practically Radical)

Seeing a problem for the first time, through a new lens. The definition of Deja Vu is seeing something you’ve seen before in a ridiculously clear manner. Vuja De thinking is approaching problems like you’ve never seen them before. Trying to solve your organizational problems with novel solutions we’ve never thought about trying. The next time you want an “expert” to solve the problem instead why not ask a beginner to take a stab at it, you may surprise yourself!

whens the last time you bought something from a salesperson that you weren’t in the market for

If you want donations to your cause don’t ask for money 

If you want me to buy something the last way to do that is by trying to sell it to me. What you need to do is pitch me your why. 

I still remember the Tweet. It was from Kayla Kozan, she said “Someone trying to sell you a watch is probably a watch sales-person.” Meaning, if someone is trying to get you to buy something you should simply say no because they obviously have an interest in you buying it from them.

How do you sell in a world where Vacuum Cleaner sales people no longer exist? 

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Life's too short not to have fun

The “P” Word In The StratLab Office // eps 57 #InTheLab

It’s about time we talked about the “P” word.

“Positivity”.

Stop being afraid of it and call out the pink Elephant in the room. Why is being positive looked down on? In a business setting if you come into the room excited, grinning ear to ear, people will ask if you’ve gone mad. I think we should encourage people to be happy, excited, down right ecstatic to be there. Why not, life’s too short not to have fun.

Why do we tolerate people in society that think life is about being “serious” and “professional”. Two adjectives this author doesn’t do very well with.

Bee happy

There’s a psychological side to being positive as well. Studies show that a positive mindset allows your brain to be more creative as well as increases white blood cell count helping strengthen your immune system. You can’t argue with science! Being happy keeps you healthy and makes you smarter.

In the @Stratlab office if someone is being negative, gossiping, talking ill of someone else, or just in general being a negative Nancy, we won’t tolerate it. We blow the horn of negativity.

Yes you read correct. Born out of Big Idea Camp as a way to keep everyone positive, the Horn of Negativity is an air horn that rarely got used. We started it as a joke and it’s lasted ever since. The team knows now not to be negative, no gossiping or else they’ll get an ear full.

Lastly, it’s easy to be negative. It’s easy to be a critic. It’s easy to sit at the sidelines and complain. It’s easy not to put in any effort and just expect change to happen. But that’s not how life works.

It’s much harder to try to change things. It’s much more difficult to help look for solutions, to not complain without being willing to be a part of the change.

Take the difficult path, be a positive change agent in society. Man we need now more than ever.

strong opinions held loosely

Strong Opinions Held Loosely 

Hold strong opinions but hold them loosely. Things change, your opinions should too. I remember when Al Gore Came to Regina, I was his disciple. Global Warming was happening and I was going to stop it!! Or so I thought. Then I read Superfreakonomics and the chapter about Global Warming and started to think there was more to this Global Warming fiasco! Finally, after published study after study, I’ve changed my mind back to thinking Global Warming is an issue.

Never be afraid to change your mind on a major topic because of new information. It’s when we rely on Dogma only we turn a blind eye to the facts blatantly in front of us.

On a Tim Ferriss podcast with Marc Andreessen there was this neat moment that Marc went off on opinions. He said he loves talking to investment bankers because when they get new information they’re very quick to change their minds. In the investment banking industry that can be worth millions of dollars. He said it’s wise to hold strong opinions as long as you can change them easily.

You know what’s really annoying your friends? That you don’t change your mind on anything! The world isn’t flat, lead gasoline is bad, global warming exists, and you’re not as smart as you think you are. In life there are no absolutes, just things that constantly change. It’s okay to change your mind, it’s a good thing.

want-to-annoy-people-play-devils-advocate

Want To Really Annoy People? Play the Devil’s Advocate

To the devil’s advocate: STOP IT! The devil is doing fine on his own, he does not need your help. 

Do you ever find argumentative people love to talk about the exception to the rule? Finding the one in a millionth chance and using it as “evidence” for what could happen. It’s a great way to stress yourself out. Also a good way to determine if one is a know-it-all. Do they like proving someone wrong by arguing the exception to the rule?

Why do we do it though? Why do we cause this undue harm on our minds always trying to determine “what’s the worst that could happen?” Sure it’s good to understand what’s the worst that can happen, but to act upon it, or be planning based on it is silly. If we’re constantly worried about what’s the worst that can happen we never look at what’s the best thing that can happen! Ever bring that up in a planning session? Probably not because optimism isn’t generally looked fondly on in the business community (until lately!)

What’s the WORST that could happen? What’s the BEST that could happen?

A part of our brains are built to do this, to protect us. But that same part of your brain telling you to run from danger in a dark alley is the same part that’s holding you back from doing something amazing. In ancient times running away from what scared us was a smart tactic but in today’s world we need to seek out what scares us and push through it. Playing devils’ advocate is a way to assess what’s the worst that could happen. They problem with this is that the “worst” rarely ever happens, but our brains love to focus on the smallest negative piece of feedback. So instead of finding a solution to the obstacle in the way we think about how bad the feedback was and we never move on.

worry-wort

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what-your-marketing-strategy

What’s Our Marketing Strategy? Plus 8 Other Questions About @StratLab

What is your marketing strategy?

free-prize-inside-by-seth-godinWe don’t have one. Over deliver, care more, work harder. At Strategy Lab we believe in being so good at what you do that you don’t have to rely on telling others about it. We want to ensure the work we do is remarkable enough that people will inherently want to talk about it. Permission based marketing.

Pull > Push

 

Remember, we never used to buy cereal for the whole grain goodness inside, we bought it for the free prize inside! You don’t need a marketing strategy if you have a free prize inside!

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I can

There Are Only Two Types of People In The World: “I cans” and “I can’ts”

Which one are you?

When a new challenge comes along do you jump on it? Do you tell yourself you can do it instead of the opposite? Good, I like you.

Or…

When someone asks you something to do and you’re unsure of, do you immediately say “NO”?
When someone asks you to do something uncomfortable do you try to avoid it?

You could be creating very detrimental habits that are going to affect your life in the future

When someone asks you to do something and you say “I can’t” you’re doing terrible things to your brain on multiple different levels. Your conscious mind likes the decision because you don’t need to try anything new, staying the same is easy. If all you do is seek out and perform tasks that are “easy” you’ll never learn.

Doing what’s easy or safe affects your subconscious mind too. Your subconscious mind thinks that any task you say “no” to is now something you can’t do, just because of your attitude not your ability. You’re creating a precedent for your mind to say, I can’t, I shouldn’t, I’m no good at that. Think if that was your attitude as a child? You wouldn’t have learned very much at all! In the long run “safe” doesn’t help anyone.

The Elephant and the Rider: your Conscious and SubConscious mind

Chip and Dan Heath from the book Switch tell us to be wary of what we tell our subconscious mind.

The now famous Heath Brothers compare your conscious and subconscious mind to that of an Elephant and a person riding it. Your conscious mind (the rider) in the grand scheme of your brain is quite small and relatively powerless compared to your subconscious (the Elephant). The catch is the Elephant (your subconscious) doesn’t choose what to focus on, it simply listens to the conscious mind. Hence the “power of positive thinking”, affirmations, goal setting, all have the same goal in mind, to tap into the power of your subconscious. 

Be very careful what you ‘tell’ your brain

A coach at a volleyball camp when asked to do an underhand serve said those horrible, horrible words. I CAN’T. Basically saying “I have no courage, I can not even fathom doing this incredibly difficult task you have given me!” ANY volleyball player can do an underhand serve, let alone a coach!!!!

Then I realized I couldn’t convince her otherwise. She’d put up a wall to learned new things. Whatever her conscious mind told her she couldn’t do, her subconscious believe through and through. This is why this attitude is so bad for anyone.

When you say ‘no’ you’re telling people not to ask you ever again

As much as you probably don’t believe the Hollywood Blockbuster “Yes Man” movie, it’s a brilliant thought experiment. Saying ‘yes’ to as many opportunities that come your way is a great way to show others you’re willing to try new things, that you’re spontaneous, and that generally fun to hangout with.

When you say %22I can't%22 it's like you've given up, it's a defeatist attitude. And people don't want to associate with defeated people

When you say “I can’t” it’s like you’ve given up, it’s a defeatist attitude. And people don’t want to associate with defeated people.

NO MAN! NO MAN! NO MAN! NO MAN!

The opposite is that one friend you have had that never wanted to try anything new, that never would join the group or try anything new, every time you ask they have an excuse as to why not. Get far, far away from these people they are toxic and you don’t want to learn any bad habits from them.

What do you do when you're having a bad day?

What Do You When You Have a Bad Day? // eps 46 #InTheLab

We had a really intense discussion in our office the other day and the question was asked, what do you do when you have a bad day?
(Other than play that catchy Daniel Powter song by the same name)

We had varied answers but what was interesting was that everyone could relate, everyone has bad days. No one is immune from bad days, EVERYONE has them. Everybody. So to figure out what to do about a bad day seems like something we all should talk about.

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Don't bash your competition

Stop Bashing Your Competitors || Eps 34 #InTheLab


I have a beef to make. Why do we insist on bashing our competitors? I mean, you have an obvious bias against them, they run a business that’s very similar to yours in YOUR industry. They probably even copied some of the stuff you do! Still not a reason to insult your competition.

Why shouldn’t you bash your competitors you ask? Well, several reasons.

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