Arguments Can Spawn Innovation: If you dare
by Dawnna St Louis, Innovation Expert at Dawnna St Louis on Dec 15, 2012
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Arguments can really spawn innovation if you and your team dare to take on the Murder Board process. ...
Arguments can really spawn innovation if you and your team dare to take on the Murder Board process.
Early in my career I was part of a consulting company that would come up with ideas to streamline our clients’ business operations by leveraging technology solutions and process improvements. The team of idea-generating geeks were called Gladiators and their ideas were Targets.
Gladiators were fearless evangelists of technology that spoke the language of the people (geeky and business) that would compel them to love their ideas. As a “Super Geek” and Six Sigma Green Belt with an ability to communicate with both the business and technologists, the role of Gladiator was perfect fit.
Our targets (idea) would get placed on a Murder Board and Shooters would attempt to kill it by uncovering a target’s vulnerabilities and flaws. Shooters were the business people, other technologists, and executives that were ruthless in their mission not to let mediocrity survive.
Gladiators had to be fearless, passionate and innovative; they had to be able to defend their Target while listening to the feedback of Shooters; and they had to be able to speak the language of the business and understand the limitations, as well as, the full scope of available technology.
The Sheriff was the person who would dare to referee the communications between a Gladiator attempting to save his idea and the Shooter determined to kill it.
The Murder Board meetings had but two rules:
Only talk about the target. This meant that a shooter couldn’t say that “James is stupid” or “Eleanor is an idiot” but, they could say “The Target is flawed”.
Every statement had to have 3 pieces of factual justification. If someone said that a piece of information was wrong; they had to be able to back up their statements. The inability to do this could get you removed from your role and the process as a whole.
The meetings were controlled chaos. Passions were tested and tempers would flare as both sides of an argument would consider points and counterpoints to find a solution.
As a result of some of the best ideas were forged to create true corporate growth. It was one of the times in my career when I learned that true innovation will fearlessly withstand anything; even the Shooter, Sheriff, and Murder Board.
Today, I use these same techniques and consistently innovate in my own business as a speaker. My team has changed and my audience is different but the process still exists. I am the Gladiator and my Shooters are usually my overly critical sons or a business partner that has no problem killing an idea. Fortunately we have not needed a Sheriff; but just in case 911 is on speed dial.
Are you a Gladiator, Sheriff, or Shooter
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