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Creative BusinessCreative MetaphorCreative Thinking

Do you think like Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Who?

October 21, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


Sherlock often says, “If you remove the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Most of us are conditioned to think deductively like Sherlock – we remove the stuff that’s wrong, or the messy outliers, or the counter-intuitive, or the inaccessibly complex, and what we are left with, as long as there is enough of it, must be right.

We have a tendency to lazily rather than skilfully apply Occam’s razor – a principle that states among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

There is a profound artistry in making things simple and elegant, but that’s a world away from making things simplistic and reaching for the most obvious or least complex option.

There’s a big difference between making something better and making it less rubbish.

Sherlock thinks deductively; he walks into a room where the event had already happened, there’s loads of information so he applies deduction to sift through it; it’s an efficient, logical way of thinking. However, it’s a reductive, filtering process of top-down logic that is only as good as the hypothesis you are exploring, the assumptions that you make and the questions that you ask.

Deductive enquiry begins with an observation of the system at large, makes guesses intended to drill-down and work out what’s going on at a more detailed level of reality.

By contrast, Dr Who thinks inductively; he gets in amongst the live action and makes a detailed, specific observation about one particular Dalek, and then extrapolates that detail out to something he can use to undermine and defeat the entire Dalek army.

Inductive thinking is an imaginative thought process based on concrete, sensory experience. It begins with discoveries based on reality with all of its messy detail and complexity and then extrapolates those discoveries to see if they make sense of the larger system.

In organisational activities we often see both types of observation & enquiry:

Deductive, top-down thinking would run a survey of their people/customers and then deductively reduce that generalised information to try to guess what’s going on at the level of experience.

Inductive thinking would go and observe the workplace or the customer experience and then extrapolate that concrete observation to make sense of what’s going on at a larger level.

Typically, creative agencies think bottom-up, understanding the individual first and engaging their imagination, whereas management consultants with MBA’s think top-down, looking at the data from the whole population first and making assumptions often without observation.

The challenge in working with humans is that, to be credible, we need to be in data-driven Sherlock world but to be pragmatic, effective and discover new insights we need to be in organic, experience-driven Dr. Who world.

Ideally we need think like both; can we be Dr. Who to make discoveries or create stuff, and Sherlock to test and measure it?


Regrets of the dying 2085

October 15, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


A palliative care nurse, working in the Greater District of New Paris between 2070 and 2083 kept a journal of conversations with terminally ill patients. Here were their most common regrets:

  1. I wish I had spent more time in the real world not online
  2. I wish I had not cared about what people I never see think of me
  3. I wish I had cared more about the people right in front of me
  4. I wish I had stood up for what I really think, even when nobody else liked or followed
  5. I wish I had absorbed myself in the moment and not taken a selfie

Great digital tools should enhance your life – not reduce or replace it.


Disruptive Technology?

October 7, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


It can be easy to think that fast-changing technology is propelling us into an ever more uncertain future but if you think about it, there is only really one disruptive technology – the human nervous system.

Everything else described as a disruptive technology is really just a tool that needs to be conceived, designed, created, built, managed, promoted, sold, bought, adopted, utilised, consumed and disposed of by human beings.

The more you understand human motivations the simpler and easier it is to see patterns, make predictions and engage in a changing world.


Emotional Design

September 8, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


This morning I listened to a User Experience expert talking about emotional design. He was questioning the idea that we should be eliciting a desired emotional response. He said something like “We don’t always need to elicit an emotional response. When you are with a friend you are not thinking about eliciting an emotional response. That’s a bit creepy or manipulative.”

This is amusing and true, but he had missed the point. Whether or not you are thinking about eliciting an emotional response from your friend, that is precisely what you are doing. Boredom, frustration, distraction, confusion, focus, surprise and delight all have corresponding emotional states, as does any other way of being that you can think of.

You can’t not elicit emotion just as you can’t not communicate. On the receiving end of all communication is a human nervous system that is processing information emotionally first, and logically as an after thought. Your thinking is coloured by the emotional response you are already having. Emotion trumps everything else so it’s worth paying attention to it! It’s not about manipulation – It’s about being mindful of the experience you are creating, and designing better ones.


Are You Congruent?

July 21, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


Life becomes really simple when your thoughts and feelings match; and when your internal thoughts and feelings match your external expressions…

If you withhold your inner thoughts and keep them secret you should ask yourself why. Is it an inauthentic relationship? Are your private thoughts unpleasant, unreasonable or sinister? It is only the external expression of our thoughts (through language of behaviour) that provides the opportunity for feedback – to align with others, to find our tribe, to notice when we are out of line, to attract opinions from others and to grow.

If we are secretive we get little the feedback from the world; if we are inauthentic the feedback we get is useless. Filtering and withholding is also exhaustingly effortful. Being transparent and authentic is effortless – I promise you will sleep better.

This works for groups and organisations too. If internal and external communication is extremely different it becomes difficult to manage and ultimately ineffective. If internal and external communication match it’s cultural, effective and effortless.

Creative Business

What’s your leadership / consulting style?

July 14, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


expertise vs ability

As a coach or consultant, I have worked in a wide range of contexts and as a leader I have had a bit of variety too. Interestingly, I have noticed my style shifting from one context to another, which has led me to question when and where I am the most effective.

A coach or facilitator has the ability to facilitate self-determined change. They provoke self-discovery with skilful, non-directive questioning, often within an imposed structure/process/model, that helps to expand thinking and reach committed outcomes. The client/stakeholder comes up with the answer and the client/stakeholder owns it. A mentor or expert has the ability to accelerate growth by giving advice. They help by increasing understanding (educating & explaining) and increasing awareness of options that are outside of the person’s experience. They are adding in stuff that the individual would probably not discover through reflection alone. As a leader/consultant: If we are extremely facilitative is it possible that we are not providing adequate direction? If we are direct and didactic, are we commanding and controlling rather than empowering and leading?

What happens when you have the skill and experience to do both? Do you add more value than a facilitator because you can add more insight and options? Do you add more value than an expert because you empower them and they own it? What’s your style?


Violating expectations in an enjoyable way

July 3, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


Some time ago I published a blog called “The perfect ingredients for an average event

This is a follow-up. Doing my best to practice what I preach, here are three events that audience members won’t forget in a hurry:

‘The Art of Conversation’ used live interactions with audience members to demonstrate the human element of online engagement. Designed for Lab.co.uk and delivered as Dr. Headfunk.


‘Deadly 7’ was a gameshow metaphor that demonstrated bad customer experience on mobile devices. Designed for IADigital.com and hosted as Lou Cipher.


This Neuromarketing presentation at the Cact.us Masterclass demonstrated the effects of context and expectation with audience hallucination and stage hypnosis.


If you know anyone who could benefit from a bit more ROI from events by making them more engaging and memorable, please feel free to pass my details on.

Creative ThinkingNLP

Are you sitting comfortably?

March 10, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


(You may not be sitting, and either way, are you comfortable?)

Just out of interest; how do you know?

Are you assuming or did you check?

If you checked; where in your body did you check? Did you scan your whole body? What did you notice? And if you didn’t notice anything at first you probably have now. How will you respond to what you have noticed? If you notice discomfort do you move or do you helplessly accept it? If you notice tension do you let it go? Whatever sensations you notice, do you pay closer attention or do you ignore them? Do you make adjustments or do you tolerate them?

Did you label the feeling by giving it a name; did you explain it to yourself? Or were you able to just experience it?

If you hold tension or endure discomfort; what’s going on there? Is it habit? Is it inconvenient to move? Are you concerned about what others will think if you move suddenly or strangely?

Did you feel nothing? Not even the bottoms of your feet? How is that possible? Have you been decapitated?

I often often draw people’s attention to their feelings and ask them what they notice. When I do so I’m not looking for evaluations like ‘tired’, ‘depressed’, or ‘comfortable’. These are not feelings they are linguistic labels; and often value judgements (carrying an implicit sense of good or bad). They do not contain any precise sensory information. Describing your feelings in this way will prevent you from really feeling them. I would invite you to feel a little more precisely; to fully experience your kinaesthetic system. Examples of sensations may be ‘tightness in my shoulders’, ‘tension in my jaw’ or ‘a knot in my gut.’

If you are able to notice your experience, to assess how you are getting on in the moment based on physical sensations (not just thoughts) you have access to a somatic intelligence that can be developed to become your greatest ally.


Human Science

February 9, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


I’ve always been confused about this…

Why study that which is average when you could study that which is exceptional?

Why not look for the outliers and the exceptions to the rule that broaden your thinking – not just the conformities that narrow it?


Top 10 Simple Coaching Questions

January 7, 2015 — by Daryll Scott0


I thought I would share these – none of the tricky ‘jedi language’ here, just the simple questions that can sometimes be profound.

I’m not sure how well they work in writing – please have a play and let me know…

For getting to the problem:

  • What do you want? So what prevents you from just doing that?

For challenging negative thoughts:

  • How do you know?
  • What do you have to ignore in order to think that?
  • Is that true? Is it really true?
  • When is it not true? When is it not relevant? When is it a good thing?

For provoking realisations:

  • How will you be in 10 years if you don’t change anything?
  • How specifically have you failed to overcome this challenge in the past?
  • What would you do if you had no problems?
  • What is your unconscious ‘gut feeling’ telling you now that you are ignoring, but you will know it was right in a year from now?
  • What’s the one thing you can do now, that will make all other things better/easier?

Creative Business

Don’t kid yourself…

December 3, 2014 — by Daryll Scott0


Taking some progressive industry thinking and turning it into an info-graphic is engaging, but it’s not thought leadership.

Providing hospitality events creates great opportunities, but it’s not relationship development unless it develops the relationship.

Surveys are informative, but they don’t provide new insight because they only answer the questions you knew about in advance.

Customer opinion can tell you how you are getting on, but you can’t use it to create the next thing.

HR may measure engagement, but it’s not an HR issue.

It’s great to have a clever, robust strategy, but culture trumps strategy every time.

Creative Business


November 20, 2014 — by Daryll Scott0


You can’t create a culture – you have to grow it

It is not communicated with strategic, planned, formal, conscious messages – it is brought to life through immediate, implicit, informal, unconscious behaviour.

It’s not nailed down and made clear – It’s organic and you feel it.

You can’t game it and you can’t pretend – it has to be real.

To change a culture is not a short term initiative – it’s a long-term commitment.

And it’s worth it, because if you do it right, culture trumps everything else!


Other people’s expectations

November 12, 2014 — by Daryll Scott0


I have a meeting this week with a large publishing company who are interested in my new book. I find myself wondering if my style of writing will be okay for them.

You may have noticed, I tend to write in the first person (because I think it’s engaging) and use my personal experience to describe processes (because, when you think about it, what else do I have?)

Also I’m neither well-researched enough nor detached enough do it any other way.

So I find myself wondering if I should change my style and write more impartially. Should I do it my way and do it well, or should I write in a way that I think is expected of me and maybe mess it up?

Many of my clients seem to wrestle with a version of this problem – shall I be a 10/10 version of myself, or a 7/10 version of the person that I think they may want me to be?

I know that if I go for the 10/10, whatever the outcome, I won’t feel conflicted or compromised and the feedback I get will be useful.

So I suppose I have answered my own question… I hope it resonated with you.


The perfect ingredients for an average event

October 26, 2014 — by Daryll Scott0


If average is what you are all about, simply follow this tried and tested method:

  1. Book a safe, swanky venue with the intention of impressing your guests
  2. Invite your guests with a credible, professional communication
  3. On arrival, greet your guests, and serve them drinks and nibbles
  4. Politely usher them in to the main event (a round table with a predictable topic imposed, or a presentation all about you and not about them)
  5. Thank them for coming

If you want to get the full, engaged attention of your audience, create a real connection with them and influence their behaviour after the event, it may be worth questioning the ‘no surprises’ formula above.

Last week I attended a round-table dinner with no agenda or topic. The tangents of conversation were a delight.

Last month I worked with a digital agency to create an event that confuses and amuses the audience from the first moment – they were captivated.

If you are going to go to the trouble and expense of creating an event – make it an engaging, memorable and influential experience.

Creative BusinessNLP

From individuals to organisations… The problem is how we think about the problem…

July 15, 2014 — by Daryll Scott0


People are organic, complex, interdependent and in constant flux – but we think of people as robotic, simple, independent and consistent.

Similarly organisations are organic, complex, interdependent and in constant flux – but we think of them as robotic, simple, independent and consistent.

The problem is how people think about the problem.

Are you with me?


Will you follow me down this garden path?

July 12, 2014 — by Daryll Scott0


None of us live in the real world – we live in our own individual ‘map’ of the world.

Sensory information (especially what we see and hear) is corrupted and constructed before we get conscious access to it.

Our ‘maps’ cannot be right or wrong, they can only be effective or ineffective; helpful or unhelpful.

Our problems arise from the difference between your conscious ‘map’ of the world and how the world really is.

Your conscious thought processes are not the answer to your problems – they are the cause.

Other people’s opinions are even more violently unhelpful.

Any personal intervention that attempts to make changes through conscious ‘understanding’ is a bad joke.

Just love and laugh.

Are you with me?