Monday, March 28, 2011

Disciplined Dreaming ... a Spirit Powered Process

by Dale Shumaker

Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner involves systems for breaking through to creativity.
The five-step method of ask, prepare, discover, ignite, and launch can be applied by any business or business venture-minded person. Using systems that are common left brain attributes, any person whether right brained (commonly the creative side) and left brained (more systematic and linear) can be innovators and creators in their business.

What do you do in each step?
Step 1: Ask. Identify and clearly define your specific creative challenge.

Step 2. Prepare. Get ready to meet the challenge you identified.

Step 3. Discover. Explore the avenues that might lead to creative ideas.

Step 4. Ignite. Spark creativity and get more ideas.

Step 5. Launch. Make your best ideas a reality.

What approaches can you use to invigorate each step?

Disciplined Dreaming will bring solutions to you in three areas:
Breakthrough innovation, high-value change, everyday creativity. To expand your creativity, you will need to tolerate ambiguity, avoid right and wrong answers, accept ruts and grooves, listen, don't be rigid or stubborn, seek input.

Linkner's method uses a systems approach that a left brain person as well as a right brain person can use and feel quite at home at doing it.


Build a creativity brief. Common elements of this brief include an overview which is
a description of the project or problem you are trying to solve.
The history, what has led up to this point?

The objective, what specific outcome is desired to be accomplished?

The deliverables, what will come out of this that will be delivered?

The target audience, whom will the message reach?

The timeline, dates and milestones throughout the project.

The client, who are the decision makers, those who approve each part?

The budget, what financial restraints must be adhered to?

Creative warmup exercises are provided to warm up the mind to creative function.

To lead you to breakthroughs in thinking ask three questions: Why? What if? Why not?
To dig deeper into a thought ask Why? five times. For each response follow with another
Why? Sounds a little like your 2-year old growing up, but works great to get deeper in a thought or idea. Master innovators have five skills: associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, networking(or getting ideas from varied sources).


Do fun, off-the-wall things to loosen everyone up... word games, improv, field trips.

The seven rules of creative culture are
fuel your passion... develop a sense of purpose, promote collaboration, celebrate ideas, foster autonomy, encourage courage, fail forward, think small, maximize diversity.

Prepare the environment. Go to different sites, rearrange rooms that are open, bright,
colorful, with lots of sunlight, have people sit in different places, on different things( maybe everyone gets a bean bag to sit on).

When you conduct a meeting off-site, follow these practices.

1. Start with clear objectives. Make sure your creativity brief has been prepared.

2. Establish ground rules. Some things to keep in mind are confidentiality, dive deep, steer
people back from tangents, demand clarity, how do we take it home.
3. Make the most of intros and endings. Start with something motivational and end it with
inspiration to carry on.
4. Warm it up. Use quotes and other activities to get creative juices going.

5. Create a theme. Use sub-themes as quideposts along the way.

6. Sprint and break. Take a break every couple hours. Keep cell phone's off during meeting.

7. Move outside your comfort zone. Do activities different than the norm.

8. Get stimulated. Food, guest speakers, videos, live entertainment. Group fun.

9. Encourage broad participation. Be a facilitator not a lecturer.

10. Prepare. Ask people to prepare in advance activities they are in charge of.


Look at a problem through different lenses, as if you were a musician or engineer, someone
not normally associated with the area being discussed. Pretend you are that person as you explain it to the group.
Capitalize on inflection points. As technology, culture, economic conditions, social interaction
styles change, these are inflection points that can unleash new opportunity. What's the significance of these changes and how can you capitalize on them? Opportunities can lie at the intersection of multiple inflection points or trends. In addition to discovering something totally new, they can add a new twist to an old idea.
Discover from borrowed ideas. Something may be working somewhere else that will work
when applied to a problem. Keep up on what others are doing, and see if it would work for you.
Turn the problem upside down. Use the "instead of" and "what if" process. Play with an
idea that you could pretend that "instead of" this, "what if" we did this. Apply this to existing problems and see what might come out of it.
Put patterns to use. What patterns exist that you can apply. In World
War II the pattern of birds flying was used to determine air formation patterns. Many inventions and creative solutions came out of observing other patterns and applying them to something else. Look through magazines for ideas that could be used to innovate your situation? What inflection points affected others in how are they responding to changes?


The Creative process is nonlinear. It doesn't start with a complete idea or thorough
concept, it begins with sparks. To spark the creative flame start with a number of small sparks, even though quite incomplete. Be very careful not to quickly extinguish those sparks.

Twelve ways to strike the spark of creativity.

Use Imbizo groups, which is a group of people with diverse backgrounds. They merely
discuss the project. Their diversity brings new and different perspectives.
The hot potato is to randomly pass something like a nerf ball around and who catches
it must shout out an idea in only one sentence.
The start ain't always the start. Begin even if it's an idea for on down the road. The goal
is to start sparking and start collecting ideas.
The wrong answer. Like how to win an award for the worst customer. It's fun, gets a few laughs and starts to spark the creative juices.
Stick to the man. How could you generate an idea that could get some people mad
at you. As you are politically incorrect, then you will see the other side of what a non-offensive idea could be.
Get stimulated. Step away from your activity for while and let the mind recycle. When
you come back and refocus the creative comes alive and makes something of an idea discussed earlier.
In the time capsule go back about 50 years. How would someone from that era solve this problem and come up with a better idea. Then jump 50 years in the future and do the same thing. This gets the mind rolling.
The Hemingway bridge. Start the next idea at the end of the day so you have a
head start the next time you meet. It helps get you rolling faster when you come back.
The persona method has you create ideas around certain personas. Each persona will generate a different view. This opens the mind to news ways of seeing things.
Use provocation to generate off the wall ideas. A provocative statement usually
stirs people up and may come out really stupid. These extreme comments get you looking at things from a different perspective.
Dagnabbits are times you get really frustrated about something. Find natural pain points and see what they stir up.
Think, doodle, write, repeat. Some great ideas start as we doodle. When we doodle away the artist side of us opens up.
The eight commandments of ideation are
1. Thou shall not judge. Let ideas flow and without evaluation early on.

2. Thou shall not comment. Let someone continue even if an idea sounds idiotic to you.

3. Thou shall not edit. Don't let grammar, spelling to get in the way of the flow.

4. Thou shall not execute. Don't try to figure out how it will work too soon.

5. Thou shall not worry. As outrageous ideas are permissible, we release fear from
our own minds about sharing a dumb idea.
6. Thou shall not look backwards. "It didn't work before" thinking is not allowed in idea generation.
7. Thou shall not lose focus. When you wonder off the subject, put the idea in a parking lot,
that may be picked up later.
8. Thou shall not sap energy. There are two kinds of people.... zappers and sappers.
Zappers make you feel energized. Sappers cause energy to drain from you. Negative and droning comments kill creativity.

EdgeStorming is taking an idea to its greatest extreme. Making a long list forces you to dig deeper to new and fresher ideas. To get ideas from your ideas substitute and combine ideas, adapt an idea, magnify or minimize and idea, put it to another use, eliminate parts, rearrange or reverse.


Now return to the left brain side and put both sides in force. Determine the best ideas, let go of
some and put them to work. Create a scoring card of one to ten and rate them in time savings, low initial investment, easy to implement, requires little training, fast change timeline, low safety hazards, low ongoing costs, low operation risks, and long term benefit.

In comparing ideas consider if it meets your desired outcome, solves your original problem,
impact on your company or career, reception by your target audience, meets your definition for success, return on investment.

Test your selections by using prototyping, making a physical model, acting it out, simulating it,
making a movie, demonstrating it.

Look at these results and then build a detailed action plan including budgets, roles and responsibilities, detailed timelines, top risks with contingency plans for each, resources needed including money, people, time, and the communication and rollout plan.

More from Josh Linkner at

Anybody set on a mission, in business or life, will benefit from the following process. Use this to create your own a flight plan. It is a Spirit directed process, with Spirit inspiration to empower your efforts along the way, with creative and innovative strategies propelling extraordinary results.

The Spirited-Powered Goal process for innovation and Divinely-Inspired strategies...
Follow the Joshua (1) process...

Know where 2 or 3 agree Jesus is there.(Matt. 18)
It's about....

Seeking God First in all things,
Set directions as God gives you.

Recording what His Spirit brings to mind.
(write the vision daily, the prophetic word by the prophets was written down)

Craft the strategy, organize your thoughts as Spirit directs.

Re-enforce it with faith, and reminders of past victories.

Use Scripture Power reminders to overcome insurmountable obstacles
(Again, write all this down)

Speak Scripture promises affirmatively.

Share what is inspired with another.
Speak it back to each other.
Say it out-loud to each other and continue to proclaim it.

Proceed into battle with a shout, proclaiming His promises in confidence of voice.

Carry out the strategy with boldness.

Support each other,
fight as a unit and combine faith Spirit.

One in Spirit is your Power. Be one in effort, in Spirit

Speak faith into each other.

Report what is happening and keep each other going.
Get new insights, proclaim it and go back into battle.

Keep each other going.

Keep a record of victories, and return to seek God for the next battle.

Carry your Fight Book with you everywhere, and constantly record the Spirit as He speaks to you throughout the day.

To summarize the process:
Pray it,
See it in Spirit in mind,
Confess it,
Scripture it,
Write it, craft strategies,
Share it,
Unite in it,

Boldly advance,
Proclaim it,
Support each other,
Review victories,
Constantly seek God.

Be Bold, be Strong, for the Lord your God is with you.

Expect Miracles, live expectantly !!!

With God's plan in hand, you walk with power in your step because you walk in His steps.

Make your own Spirit-powered goal system,
(build your own notebook, with your design, methods similar to your personality), and keep refining as you learn each day.

This will increase its power.

Each person's notebook should be personalized.
Each person should have his/her own style, but the ingredients be similar.

This is your Flight Plan, your Fight Plan, your Power Plan.
Be Bold, Be Strong, for the Lord, the God over all conditions of earth,
is With You!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dr. Henry Cloud on Necessary Endings ... confident hope

by Dale Shumaker

Recently I had the privilege of having a phone conversation with Dr. Henry Cloud about
his book Necessary Endings. My interest was to learn more on how the small business entrepreneur can benefit from Necessary Endings to increase performance while adapting to life as it shifts around us.

Dr. Cloud said he was finding that in his dealings with people that life is a series of endings.
Handling them well can create quantum leaps in our lives.

First I asked how the desperately hopeless person such as the homeless can overcome hopelessness. He said Necessary Endings wasn't written necessarily for the homeless. This is an area that needs addressed differently. But he did share a few insights about this.

Those who never choose to face challenges of life(such as the seriously depressed homeless) live in a learned hopelessness.
They need a software rewrite (thinking systems) in their brain so the hardware (living patterns) functions productively. They begin to think in predictable ways. Their minds are in a closed system. Without strong positive outside sources influencing them, they remain predictable in their thought/life patterns.

The person who is performance based responds to hopelessness in more life transforming ways.
Here a person may leave the rut of his life. Hopelessness becomes a necessary change ally. It forces the person to see the reality of his situation and it forces change... which is needed and will lead the person to what's better. He then adopts thinking and behavior that moves him to greater accomplishment in other areas.

I asked him what parts of Necessary Endings would he recommend to the small biz entrepreneur. His first suggestion was the section on seasons. We need to learn that life has seasons. This is especially true in the business world. Sometimes we may be a little late to the game. Determine where this is in your life cycle.

In all things we encounter, there is place to hope and a place for not having hope. We need to see the realities around us and respond hopefully where hope is warranted. He also suggested the chapter on Hope vs. Wishing. (I will summarize this chapter below.) We need to get in a mindset of a larger narrative. Successful people look at things with a larger narrative. For example, a football quarterback doesn't lose a game because of one interception. A setback may come in the game, but in the view of the whole game this is just one setback. Some have come out of bankruptcy and started much better, being more timely, with a better designed company that then will flourish tremendously. Failure is part of business. It's rare not to have failures in business. Dr. Cloud encourages us not to waste this experience. Learn from it. Do a postmortem, do an autopsy. Find out what went wrong. What can we do better? Look at the big picture. Learn more about yourself and your choice of the people around you, and the reasons behind what happened.

In concluding our phone visit, I asked where Spirituality fit into our business lives.
Dr. Cloud answered by pointing out it's not so much Spirituality fitting into us, but us fitting into It, aligning ourselves with It, the nature of the universe. There are transcending principles that govern everything. When we are misaligned with these principles, it wouldn't work. When we are aligned with a God relationship, we're in a line of principles that make things work. It includes trust, seeing reality clearly, treating people right, forgiving others. We metabolize faster (or energize productivity) when we are aligned with Spiritual design. It works better.

Necessary Endings was originally summarized January 24, 2011. Here's an overview of the chapters Dr. Cloud suggested would be a good review for the business entrepreneur. Also note Dr. Cloud's website:

In the chapter Hoping versus Wishing
, Dr. Cloud pointed out the difference between
what's worth fixing and what should end. The past is a good predictor of the future. People have patterns and behavior responses to the past that may repeat again in the future. We need reasons to believe. Nine factors can help determine if you can have hope, that tomorrow will be different from today. Business entrepreneurs who desire different results would benefit when they subject themselves to this process.
1. Verifiable involvement in a person to get involved in a change process.

Is a person willing to undertake actions to improve the future?

2. Additional structure.

Creating a structured path with regular meetings including coaching, support, training.

3. Monitoring systems.

How do we know this is happening... is it being watched and measured?

4. New experience and skills.

Getting new information with new experiences that teach what is needed in order
to make the future different.
5. Self-sustaining motivation.

Being on fire to change. Are meetings being attended, material being read and
others are being included in discovery ways to change the future.
6. Admission of need.

We must really feel a need to change and seek out valued help.
7. The presence of support.

Being surrounded by people who support our desire for a better future, including
professional support along with friends, peers.
8. Skilled help.
Someone in our circle of help who knows what's going on.

9.Some success.

Movement is good. To be able to ascertain that something is happening, even if

initially things get worse.
Create a structure that includes the right amount of energy at the right time.

Create urgency to stay motivated and stay energized for change.

This includes
1. Creating ending alliances. Those we hang around affect us... those
who have hope for a future and are committed to see it happen.
2. Create vision. We create what we see, so keep the picture of a good future in your mind.
3. Set deadlines. Living by a sense of urgency requires deadlines along the way
to keep getting things done. Without them we lose momentum and motivation.
4. Create structure. Structure is time, plans, critical paths, milestones, deadlines,
allocation of resources. Without structure the non-vital takes over. Structure places the rails in place that the train runs on.

What we do everyday will make what we want more likely to happen. We also need
the people doing the same thing around, to see that it happens.

Stay close to misery. Realizing our misery is also a motivator as it keeps us moving
away from it. Creating urgency around necessary endings is key to what happens to your time and energy.

Dr. Henry Cloud is highly respected. Necessary Endings is a necessary reliable resource to have around.

As Believers our Hope is heightened through Jesus who so powerfully works through us.
And our strength is enhanced by His might and the relationship we have with other Believers.

As the Apostle Paul said in Romans 15.
"...that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." We confidently hold on to this hope which gives us the real hope for our future.

Jeremiah said that our hope for a future rests in God's great plans for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
(Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

His path leads us on the path to a bright future.

It's important to note that when we stay in His structure and we are diligent to obey the
principles of His Laws, we are guaranteed wonderful results. “Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to you... a land flowing with milk and honey.!"
(Deuteronomy 11:8,9, NLT)

The promise for obeying is a future overflowing with wonderful things.

And Paul said that His Spirit works so powerfully through Him. "...through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Read all of Ephesians 3 as Paul keeps emphasizing God's power at work and the Confident Hope it brings us.

What an awestruck promise to have God's very Spirit living in us. We live with confidence in hope as His Power works through us. His plans are revealed to us and He sees that they come about as we stay diligent in doing as He says.