Think like an inventor by looking for opportunity in failure. British inventor James Dyson says that in trying to develop a fine blade of high-speed air for another product, his team accidentally came up with new hand-dryer technology. “We saw, in that moment of failure, an idea that had huge advantages in another field,” he says. “We’re examining and correcting failures all day long.” — Adapted from “Lessons in,” The Wall Street Journal.
Nail the solution to a problem by tightly defining the problem. Brad Brinegar, CEO at ad agency McKinney, says that when you clearly define the job at hand, you let loose people’s creative power. That’s the same reason architects want to design for Seaside in Florida, with its famously tight building parameters: It gives them a chance to show what they can do. — Interview with Brad Brinegar.
Give better feedback with the “puppy theory.” Carol Bartz, chief executive of Yahoo, says that when the puppy pees on the carpet, you don’t wait six months to say, “Remember that day, Jan. 12, when you peed on the carpet?” Likewise, it makes sense to give employees quick, timely, honest feedback. “I wouldn’t do annual reviews if I felt that everybody would be more honest about positive and negative feedback along the way,” she says. — Adapted from “Imagining a World Without Annual Reviews,” Adam Bryant, The New York Times.