Don Draper and “subconscious work”

Nick IngramThinking4 Comments

My family and I are belatedly catching up with “Mad Men” on Netflix – we missed it the first time round. Something that Don Draper said to Peggy Olsen the other day really struck me. You’ll recall that Don Draper is the (anti)hero of the series: the experienced ad executive. And Peggy Olsen (who I think is my favourite character) … Read More

Five areas where choosing the “difficult path” pays off

Nick IngramThinking0 Comments

“The best protection is always to be working on hard problems.” “The best protection is always to be working on hard problems”. This is advice to school students from Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator. The whole speech is worth reading in full. Graham’s point here is simply that at school, and throughout life, you need to … Read More

Want a good solution? Frame the problem well

Nick IngramStrategy0 Comments

One of the most powerful concepts I’ve come across in recent years is the idea of “wicked problems”. Powerful, because the simple naming of the idea of “wickedness” allows you the permission to bring in a whole range of different approaches to thinking about strategy. Approaches that are both useful and liberating. One of the best of those is the … Read More

A case study in disruption: Buzzfeed and Australian political news

Nick IngramStrategy2 Comments

This month we all suddenly realised that the the internet had been disrupting infidelity right under our noses. The Ashley Madison hack brought that site into the public glare for all the wrong reasons (although it’s hard to imagine a right reason to bring that site to the fore). So, if the models underpinning traditional infidelity can be disrupted by … Read More

Procrastinating? Think of your future self

Nick IngramThinking8 Comments

We all procrastinate. About 20% of us do it chronically. But all of us do it from time to time. At its root, procrastination is a coping strategy for negative emotions: boredom; anxiety; sadness. Sirois and Pychl, in a 2013 paper, describe procrastination as “short term mood repair”. But they also add a really interesting observation. The fundamental cause of … Read More

Your ability to focus: a limited mental resource

Nick IngramThinking11 Comments

Psychologists increasingly think that your “executive function” – the part of you that makes decisions and maintains actions – depends on a limited resource. Your ability to do important things, like focus on a task, depends on a certain amount of mental strength or energy. And, it would seem, just like physical strength and energy, you can deplete that resource: … Read More

To make a real decision you have to kill options

Nick IngramStrategy4 Comments

I learnt the other day that “decide” and “homicide” come from the same Latin root. “Caedere” is the Latin for “cut”. In “homicide” you cut a person (“homo”, literally a “man”). In “decide” you cut “off” (Latin, “de”). In other words a real decision will involve the cutting off, the killing off, of other options. Strategy is about choice Roger … Read More

The creativity secret from our family guinea pig

Nick IngramThinking2 Comments

Our family guinea pig, Fili, (named by my younger daughter after the dwarf) recently reminded me of one of the key secrets to creativity. But perhaps not in the way one might expect. Every day Fili (pictured above) gets put out in her run – which is basically a large cage with no floor or top. She (I know Fili’s a boy’s … Read More

Some ideas for preempting “learned helplessness”

Nick IngramThinking0 Comments

As I mentioned in last week’s post on attributional styles, I have been listening to the You Are Not So Smart podcast – and especially episode 52 on learned helplessness. It’s got me thinking about how learned helplessness can apply in various situations we encounter in our lives. And what we can do about it. What is “learned helplessness”? Learned … Read More