Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Tag: innovation and creativity

Godzilla, Bambi and Innovation and Creativity

Why does innovation and creativity sometimes seem so hard to generate?

This is an old issue with workgroups and seems especially to be the case now that so many people are working remotely.

It continues to be difficult to involve and engage them in generating ideas for workplace improvement or for involving them in design thinking or other kinds of developmental situations. Why do people just seem generally uninterested in helping their organizations make improvements?

Thinking about this in the context of digital implementation in general and remote workers in particular, it seemed to come down to the issues of ownership and engagement, that those organizations doing a good job of keeping connected with their people seem to be doing a better job of overall innovation and active involvement.

It reminded me of two things:

“Nobody ever washes a rental car.”


“Godzilla Meets Bambi.”

Yeah. I expected a, “huh?” response. So let me explain a little and keep things simple.

A critical factor in motivation is ownership. So the first quote references the reality that people who do not feel ownership or at least active involvement in problem solving cannot be expected to care as much as people who do. And, sometimes we simply do not do a very good job of doing things with people, choosing more to (unintentionally) do things TO them. People naturally resist things done to them, pushing back in different ways.

So, we might expect more innovation and creativity from those people who feel involved and engaged by the issues and opportunities in their workplaces. This is really an art in managing remote workers to generate those reactions, but asking and involving is usually more effective.

This first thought led to the second, which is actually the name of a 2-minute video I did 10 years ago to help explain these thoughts. It uses a short series of my Square Wheels® illustrations to explain why workers are less likely to be involved.

I tried to be funny but also real as well as entertaining and informative.

The link to Godzilla Meets Bambi is here:

Your thoughts and reactions are most appreciated.


For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

You can reach Scott at

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest:
Scott’s quips and quotes on Poems on The Workplace is here.

Santa’s Square Wheels Culture Wall

A Culture Wall helps to define the values, beliefs and behaviors that an organization or individual supports or aspires to accomplish. It serve the purpose of being a place of communications and consideration, where themes and ideas can be shared and discussed. And given that the Holidays are upon us, we thought you might find Santa’s Thoughts on His Culture Wall to be the gift of an idea worth considering for your workplace:

Season’s Greetings from Santa, the Elves and Reindeer!
   We’re happy to share news of our Workshop’s good year!
We’ve improved our production and general good cheer
  Cause we feel we can freely share our ideas around here!

To that effect, we’ve created something we all hold dear
   And that’s our 
Culture Wall that makes sense and is clear,
Because it displays valuable ideas to which we adhere–
And it hits home to all of us–Santa, Elves and Reindeer!
   Try creating your own 
Culture Wall of concepts you revere;
  You’ll find it supports a most gleeful working atmosphere!
       By inspiring us and acting much as would a reflecting mirror,
We examine our behaviors and generate ideas to pioneer.

So, he and his team discussed possibilities and came up with this as his anchor point for discussions about performance and innovation:

If you would find such a collection of posters and themes of interest, connect with us and we will work to make this a solid possibility for your organization. We are at the beginnings of putting a wide variety of images and quotes together into a working process. Let’s collaborate and roll things forward.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

New teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

Monday Morning Square Wheels and other thoughts

Here is our new framework for considering how things really seem to work in most organizations, this one done as a paradoxical joke that might take a second. It is also something for consideration about the perception of reality:

Square Wheels LEGO one-liner by Scott Simmerman of The Square Wheels Project


Here are two of my most useful quotes:

Nothing made sense, and neither did everything else. 
     (Joseph Heller, from his book “Closing Time,“ (1994) )

It is not possible to awaken someone who is pretending to be asleep.
(Navajo proverb).


Caterpillars can fly, if they just lighten up. Thus, be the caterpillar or the butterfly, but always watch out for the birds and expect changes because we go through cycles of existence. 

If you can’t be kind to others, at least have the decency to be vague.

Indecision is a key to flexibility.
A decision made is an opportunity for flexibility missed.
Thus, flexibility is a key to indecision.

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” — Marcel Proust

“In Paris, they simply stared when I spoke to them in French. I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.”  
– Mark Twain

Some thoughts on Flying:
Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee.

Basic Flying Rules:

  1.  Try to stay in the middle of the air.
  2.  Do not go near the edges of it. (The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.)
  3.  Strive to keep the number of successful landings made equal to the number of take-offs you’ve made.

If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. And borrow money from pessimists, since they do not expect you to pay it back.

Some managers choose to be rock solid in their commitment to flexibility. Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle. 

“That’s like asking the vegetables how to design a refrigerator.” (An actual quote I heard a company president make when asked about the idea of employee involvement. Really!)


The dome on Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home, conceals a billiards room. Billiards were illegal in Virginia when Jefferson lived…

The term “devil’s advocate” comes from the Roman Catholic church. When 20 of the church’s most important convene in deciding if someone should be sainted, a devil’s advocate is always appointed to give an alternative view.

Management in some companies reminds me of 5,000 ants on a log floating down the river with each ant pretending they are steering and that they know where they are going. But it is not their fault, it is simply the result of their perceptions about how things work.

Scott Simmerman's Square Wheels Project for Performance Manaagement

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

Check out The Square Wheels Project, our LMS for teaching Square Wheels facilitation skills to supervisors and managers.

You can reach Scott at
Connect with Scott on Google+

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Co.
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO Group

Fancy Smancy – a thought on continuous improvement

I usually try to stay on topic on these blog posts but thought this was pretty cool so I then thought to take the idea and make it into an informative post.

I am NOT a tie guy, but I do have to dress up on occasion so I have the Hong Kong suits purchased from long ago (great material, great price and the MacClarry Brothers do a fabulous job in Kowloon) and I do have some nice ties. My favorite ties come from… wait for it… Denny’s Restaurants. There, years ago, they offered some “Save The Children” ties and those had pictures of vehicles with wheels on them. I thought they were “wheely nice” and even bought a red umbrella with the same images…

Wheel Ties

An image caught my eye the other day and I thought it was a significant improvement over the tie knotting that I have always done. Continuous improvement and all that. I mean, since age 15 or so, when I first taught myself how to do a hand-over kind of Windsor Knot for myself, I have always tied that exact same knot and never even considered doing something differently!

SO, I thought to show it as an “old dog, new trick” and a way to simply demonstrate that there ARE different ways of doing things. Heck, there is even an instructional video on youtube to show you how to do it — pretty easy, actually. Innovation and creativity. Neat!

Edredge Knot

It’s called the Eldridge Knot and it shows what can happen when people have too much time on their hands. But the YouTube video tells the story of its origination, too. Interesting.

Yeah, maybe some of the people who do “low ropes” kinds of team building training may go with doing this as their next Executive Icebreaker. Me, I will just continue to use my Square Wheels illustrations and games and the Lost Dutchman teambuilding program.

If one is looking for an icebreaker that actually does have some positive benefit to at least the men in attendance, you might teach them how to tie this knot. My guess is that most will resist doing it for a wide range of different excuses, mostly based  on fear of failure! We all know what you would hear. But then one wonders how many might actually try to do such a thing the next time they have to tie one on (so to speak…).

Next time I have to go somewhere special, I might give it a go,

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman, SurprisedDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest:
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

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