Hands On Podcast: The Dumb Things Geniuses Do + The Value of a Novice Perspective

by Bryan Offutt


The dumb things geniuses do + The value of a novice perspective

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Perry Klebahn & Jeremy Utley from the Stanford d.school join us on this episode of Hands On to talk shop and unpack big ideas on all things creative. This fall, they’ll be launching a new book called ‘Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters,’ which encourages the proactive practice of exercising creative muscles so that the very best ideas can rise to the surface. In this thought-provoking episode, we go deep into the concept of cross-pollination and cover several other strategies to employ the ‘dumb things’ that geniuses just so happen to do. Perry and Jeremy aren’t just thought leaders – they’re idea experts. Tune in and get a head-start untapping the creative juices while we excitedly await the book’s forthcoming release.

Listen to Hands On on Spotify. Also available on Apple Podcast & Simplecast.

Jump straight into:

(03:41) - Words to live by - and some others not to live by. “That's something that I've seen as a personal calling or personal mission, to help smart people do the ‘dumb things’ that geniuses do.

(08:24) - Explaining the concept behind ‘Ideaflow’ and origin of how the project came to be. “We see the creative impulse as a muscle that one needs to flex and train. And the tragedy in organizations and individual's lives today is that most people treat the creative objective as a sprint.”

(13:39) - Critical shift: How to evolve from a productivity-obsessed mindset to a truly creative one. “You're way more likely to get ‘good’ out of the 350 ‘bad’ ideas you generated in a foggy pre-coffee daze than you are from the 10 that you can't really even remember from last year when you weren't deliberate about it.”

(16:30) - Cross-pollination: How people with different areas of focus can help pull out new ideas. “Ben Franklin had what he called his Junto, where every week for 30 years he’d gather with what he called a leather aprons club, a group of artisans, who would routinely gather and ask the same kinds of questions.”

(22:56) - Stinky wetsuits and sacred finds: Why it’s so important to have a novice around. “If you flip them open, you'll notice they have an entirely different inside than any other wetsuit. And it was all driven by having a really diverse team go out and generate brand new ideas and brand new directions.”

(30:01) - Setting the frame: Strategies to overcome the fear of asking ‘dumb’ questions. “Are we seeking to generate options or make decisions? Those two things we believe should not coexist. They should be separated.”

(32:10) - You waste years by not being able to waste hours: Understanding how the grocery store model of idea generation restricts creativity. “You're attending to habits of mind and interaction that over time yield a bountiful harvest of unexpected delights, but the question is, are you weeding that tendency to judge or to criticize?”

(41:50) - Crazy Points: The unconventional thinking that led to the creation of ‘IdeaFlow.’ “She had something like 150 collaborators in a Google doc at once. It seems like sheer madness to me, but there's also some genius to exposing early work to that many different viewpoints to refine it.”

Published — July 20, 2022