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Open Source Session
Set Up Guide

But now — most of us — are conscious, self-aware and socially sophisticated. Not to mention more locally and globally interdependent than any time in history. So this instinct turned tendency to exclude others not only doesn’t serve us anymore — it threatens our very existence. Exclusivity is our new Lion.


So here we are. In meetings, workshops, brainstorming sessions based on organizational charts not instinct or ability. Day-in and day-out we’re communing with one another in formats that are tired, counter-intuitive, indeed harmful because we’re ignoring our instincts, and our individual creative thinking styles.   So, besides binge watching TED Talks on Netflix all weekend, what can we do to get out of this dysfunction?   Well, there is a very exciting revolution going on in the software industry which is based on principles that I believe we can embrace and incorporate in other areas of our lives.



I’m speaking of Open Source Code. This is when a company releases the source code of a product to the public - to anyone to build on and hopefully innovate. The primary philosophy being that we can learn more from each other when information is open. This movement obviously challenges the long held corporate ethos of exclusivity—But with the massive success of Open Source products like LINUX, WORDPRESS, FIREFOX, GOOGLE CHROME and ANDROID the ethos is shifting—and fast.   Suddenly fear and exclusivity are no longer as motivating or potentially profitable as sharing and inclusivity.  So, to get out of the dysfunction, I get into what I call “Open Source Mode”.




It’s a strategy—a state-of-mind really based on the tenets of Open Source Code but applied to my operations as a Creative Director; idea generation, group problem solving . The strategy is this; 1. Include Everyone, 2. Give them Access to Everything then 3. Gather and Share Anything. Simple, right?   But, because so many of our colleagues are still locked into this fear-based exclusivity ethos, the tactics of this strategy can be a real challenge. They require us to rise up against some of our most embedded, time-honored practices and behaviors we have.   I have a slew of tactics that I use under this strategy but TED has wisely determined that 18 minutes is the optimal time limit for sharing and grasping ideas. So you can find more in my forthcoming book




“19 Minutes: Stuff That I Couldn’t Fit Into My TEDx Talk”   So today let’s focus on just one of the most common practices in our classrooms, organizations and workplace — The Brainstorming Session. True story. Years ago I was invited to an exclusive Brainstorming Session to figure out how to sell a lot of ads in a short time.



Many of you are probably familiar with the Rules for Brainstorming, two of which being; 1. There's no such thing as a “bad” idea and 2. don’t judge any ideas. Excitedly, I blurted out the first idea—let’s discount ads for preferred clients for a limited time. The Braainstorming Facilitator looked directly at me and, I kid you not, said “Bad idea—we’re already under-valued next?” Well, I shut right down. And so did most of the group for fear of being judged by the very person who just read us the Rules of Brainstorming.  That Facilitator made three critical mistakes; iIn the first minute, she broke two of the primary rules, before the session began she made it exclusive and here's where that parable about the monks and letting go of old ideas comes into play, before she was even born, the Brainstorming technique was scientifically proven not to work.

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