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I am so delighted and filled with gratitude when my clients, or my prospective clients, spontaneously say to me in a somewhat surprised tone:

“You have really helped me think this through.”

“I hadn’t seen it quite like that before.”

“I’m now seeing possibilities I hadn’t considered.”

“You’ve opened me up to a new way of thinking.”

Developmental Conversations

I’m delighted because that kind of feedback tells me our conversation has helped the client progress her thinking.  Together, we’ve created a developmental conversation.  The conversation has constructed something new for both of us.  She has some insights about her situation and me, and I have new insights about my situation and her.  And, I’m grateful because she was open to the inquiry.  She was receptive. She wanted to find a new way.  She was willing to explore and discover. Our generative conversation created the new possibilities.

appreciative inquiry design processOn the surface, Polymash is an app development agency.  But scratch a little below the surface and you’ll find that what we really do is develop people, and their ideas, and ultimately develop innovation behaviors.  We know that through our inquiry-based approach to our client engagements, we help them express that which they want to express.  We begin conversations with our goal to guide them so that eventually clients are able to express what they are wanting to achieve in the most positive way; they express what delights them; what they aspire to; and what brings life to their purpose in life and business. In our app development, we tap into the highest potential for people and for product. Our experience has been that people dig deep to contribute to something larger than themselves, something that allows their voice and creativity to rise to the top.  That’s how innovations happen. That’s how great design and user experience (UX) emerge organically.

Innovation Behaviors

When we come to a project with the mindset of people development over product development, we are focused on the human experience over the technological solution.  Our mindset, when we engage with clients, is that we want them to realize that through engagement with their apps, they can positively impact their user-base. Our Wild Dolphins iPad app and FilmOneFest iPad and smartphone apps are two examples where the inquiry-based approach resulted in not only producing highly attractive apps with great entertainment and utility, but also developed entire client teams involved in gathering all the content for the apps.  Teams can evolve to new heights in their relationships and productivity.  And, apps have the potential to create innovation behaviors among their customers – the users.

In the case of Wild Dolphins, we had members of the organization saying that being part of the content creation for the app was the best experience in their career to date.  They were amazed at how everyone just wanted to jump in and Wild Dolphins Appreciative Inquirycontribute.  They said productivity increased and leadership emerged where they had not seen it before.  New, innovation behaviors that have come from the app users have been greater awareness of what endangers the species, and what new, innovation behaviors they can adopt to help protect wild dolphins.  The Wild Dolphins‘ client wanted to put their mission into the world and be a force for good by bringing awareness to the positive human behaviors that will help protect dolphins in the wild.

FilmOneFest II app was also community-wide effort, where we engaged with various stakeholders whose content and ideas would be included in the app – filmmakers, film critics, sponsors, volunteers, business people. The articulated goal was to be able to show the one-minute films selected for viewing at the one-day film festival to help promote the filmmakers,  the event and the town.  What emerged from our inquiry was a whole new innovative approach to help promote the event and attract new filmmakers for future film festivals and an entirely innovative way of having filmmakers participate in all future events.

Greatest Energy and Excitements

Our approach to our work is grounded in a special kind of inquiry:  Appreciative Inquiry.  By “Inquiry,” we mean asking carefully crafted questions that to seek to expand the thinking and enlarge the conversation and its potential.  By “Appreciative,” we mean inquiring through a lens that seeks to appreciate or  “increase in value” whatever the topic of the inquiry is.  So applying the Appreciative Inquiry framework, we engage with our clients through a lens that looks for what is to be valued, successful and appreciated.  Energy and engagement result.  Creativity is unleashed and innovations pop up from unexpected sources.

What if, instead of looking for “the pain points and problems” in clients’ situations, we inquired into areas of “greatest energy and excitements.”  What if we stopped thinking and acting from a position of “what we lack and our weaknesses” and instead began to focus on “past successes, current best assets and individual and collective strengths?”  When you inquire from that perspective, shift happens!

To learn more and apply Appreciative Inquiry, download our iPad app Embracing Change which leads users through change.  To learn more about the principles of Appreciative Inquiry as a method of inquiry that results in stories of personal and professional triumph, download our smartphone and iPad app Appreciative Inquiry – an Introduction.

 

 

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce that our free FilmOneFest iPad app is now available on the iTunes iPad app store.

FilmOneFest is a celebration of one-minute films as an art form, also a film festival held in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and the FilmOneFest iPad app is a collection of one-minute films from filmmakers all around the world with supporting stories, artists’ statements, and interviews. To find out more:

[button link=”https://polymash.com/film-one-fest-ipad-app/” type=”icon” icon=”notice”]Visit the FilmOneFest Home Page[/button]

We just released Version 1.2, with enhanced audio tips, Social Media integration, improved navigation and more… Thanks for all the great suggestion to make this app a hit!

Press Release from PRWeb
Version 1.2 of this innovative iPad app provides
step-by-step coaching of change management skills with additional audio
and video tips to strengthen business leadership, transform everyday
relationships, and facilitate the design and sustainability of visionary
change.

So, what’s new?

The new release of Embracing Change improves on some of the original
interactive features making this app experience even more immersive and
engaging:

[one_half]

  • A step-by-step, clearly structured practice
  • Audio coaching and training tips *** NEW
  • Social media integration *** NEW
  • Guided approach to story telling
  • Text edit tool to respond to step-by-step questions and record insights inside the app
  • Ability to share notes with others

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

  • Interactive graphics of models of change
  • Enhanced usability and navigation *** NEW
  • Scrollable slide shows
  • 360 work flow panorama
  • Inspirational quotes, beautiful imagery and graphics
  • Instructional videos
  • Supports both Landscape and Portrait orientations

[/one_half_last]

 

Please note: This app was replaced in early 2018

This app had a great 6-year run since it’s launch in 2012. Nonetheless, we’ve been focused on creating great universal web experiences and have launched other resources to take the app’s place.

We’ve recently launched a brand new site with both free and paid in-depth training courses on creating positive change, at home, at work, and in your communities. So please visit our new site at positivechange.training:

 


We are extremely pleased that Axiom News has just released an article on our recently released “Embracing Change” app. Below a brief excerpt, to read the full article follow this link.

[box]Last year, Stratton-Berkessel published the book Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions: 21 Strength-Based Workshops. Since then she became intrigued by the use of tablets like the iPad to consume content. She says she started to see some business applications come out for tablet devices, and thought about how great it would be to turn one of her workshops into an app. [/box]

Glad to share that “Embracing Change” climbed into the top 100 it’s first week out, and we have not started our marketing campaign yet. Stay tuned:)

1.) Learn to Focus on the DOs, and let the DONTs take care of themselves

You go into a team innovation meeting, and spend the first 30 minutes analysing what is wrong with the current state.

Has this happened in your team? Does this create the right environment to innovate in? Observe the mood, energy, body language of such meetings…

Woman with Hat

Image by JB Photo via Flickr

Image by JB Photo via Flickr

Innovation is about what is possible, about inspiration, about a positive mindset, and the language we use directly impacts our ability to contribute. Gripe sessions get in the way. Positivity engages.

Broadening our horizons to focus on the possible rather than on what constrains us is difficult enough without focusing on what is wrong with the current state, and it requires a disciplined use of affirmative, additive, positivie language. What we focus on grows, and if we focus on all that is wrong with the current state it is much more difficult to shift to thinking about what is possible.

Susan Mazza at Random Acts Of Leadership recently had an (as usual) inspiring post about self-destructive behaviors of people trying to protect their jobs in this economic downturn, and she suggested 5 things one should STOP doing, as well as 10 behaviors to START doing… I absolutely love her post, AND I feel the language she uses has the potential to be even more powerful by primarily focusing on what to START doing, and allowing STOPS to take care of themselves.


2.) Learn to Reframe your Language

In fact I think that reframing our language has tremendous potential, let’s take an airline example:

Would you rather go into a meeting where the agenda is to discuss “Lost Baggage Customer Complaints”, or would you feel more energized to discuss “Achieving Optimal Customer Arrival Experience”? A successful outcome of creating an optimal customer arrival experince would almost certainly address anything that would need to be done to eliminate lost baggage.

Develop the skill to stop and deliberately review your language, emails, agendas. Ask yourself: How can I reframe this to shift the focus on the positive, the strenghts of our organization, colleagues, resources? Will my language engage people? Will it inspire positivity rather than focus on something negative?


3.) Innovation and Collaboration – Venting Optional

In “Six Thinking Hats” approach there is a view that “venting” is a catharsis necessary and useful to move forward: I disagree. Rather I agree with Peter Drucker‘s philosophy on the role of leadership as cultivating one’s strenghts in a way that makes ones weaknesses irrelevant. As in the airline example, issues that need to be addressed or fixed will still allow discussion, disagreements and a certain amount of “venting”, but it should not be allowed to have central focus, and will almost certainly be seen as a negative once everyone is already focusing on how to move forward.

4.) Our Language Reflects Our Emotions, And Our Emotions Reflect Our Language

Our reality is shaped and co-constructed by our perceptions, emotions and our language. Recognizing that positive language yields positive emotions can be a great contributor and enabler in the innovation process. Therefore, learn how to harness the power of positivity, in order to translate it into language we use constructively when dealing with each other.

Robyn at pursuingpassions.com writes on the Practice of Positivity:

Positive emotions increase our thought-action repertoire creating a broadening effect that opens us up to generativity, to creativity and to each other.

5.) Develop and  cultivate a “Yeah, and…” perspective, for yourself and your team

Gary Bertwhistle in his post over at Innovation Tools perfectly illustrates how language is important to promote and cultivate good ideas:

While working in New Zealand recently, I met the CEO of a large manufacturing company. Although he agreed with my philosophies around leading innovation, he was one of those “yeah but” guys.

As I presented my keynote, he would very politely ask questions which always began with “Yeah, but…” After he’d done it a few times, I shared with the audience an intriguing part of leadership that starts with language. I challenged the audience (and indirectly this CEO) to answer the question – are you a “yeah but” guy or a “yeah and” guy?

You see, if whenever you are reviewing a new idea, and the first thought that comes into your mind is “Yeah but…”, you’re basically putting a full stop straight on the end of the idea.

Do you have examples of where language played a part in setting the right tone for a meeting? Where reframing the language of the  agenda resulted in a more energized and productive discussion?