Matt W. Kane

Insight Out.

Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World

Tina Seelig—2015.

Letter to readers.

  • The first is an entrepreneurial mindset that allows you to see the world as opportunity rich. It is up to you to make your own luck, to see the most rules are recommendations, and to give yourself permission to challenge assumptions.
  • The second is a specific set of tools for solving problems and taking advantage of opportunities that you inevitably encounter along the way.
  • The third is a clear roadmap for moving from inspiration to implementation.


  • Imagination leads to creativity. Creativity leads to innovation. Innovation leads to entrepreneurship.
  • The invention cycle.
    • Imagination is envisioning things that do not exist.
    • Creativity is applying imagination to address the challenge.
    • Innovation is applying creativity to generate unique solutions.
    • Entrepreneurship is applying innovation, to bring unique ideas to fruition, inspiring others imagination.
  • Therefore, the more diverse your inputs, including travel, books, cuisine, music and films, the more robust imagination.
  • Your imaginative ideas can live quite comfortably in your mind, or you can share them with others.
  • This usage is consistent with scholarly work on creativity. Mark Runco and Garrett Jaeger of The Torrance Creativity Center at the University of Georgia, reviewed the range of scholarly definitions for creativity in a Creativity Research Journal article titled “the standard definition of creativity.” In summary they write, “Creativity requires both originality and effectiveness… Originality is vital for creativity but is not sufficient… Original things must be effective to be creative.” Echoing this, Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in this field, notes that “creative ideas don’t have to be original to the world, but they must be original to you, and they must have value.”
  • Even if an innovation doesn’t reach escape velocity, it is still an innovation.
  • The invention cycle is a virtuous cycle: entrepreneurs manifest their ideas by inspiring others imagination. This includes those who join the effort, fund the venture, and purchase the products.
  • Attitudes and actions of the invention cycle.
    • Imagination requires engagement and the ability to envision alternatives.
    • Creativity requires motivation and experimentation to address a challenge.
    • Innovation requires focusing and reframing to generate unique solutions.
    • Entrepreneurship requires persistence and the ability to inspire others.

Part one: imagination, engage and envision.

Chapter 1: engage: the Keys to building.

  • Imagine staring at one painting for three hours. That’s a Jennifer Roberts, professor of history of Art and architecture at Harvard, asks his students to do.
  • It sick me nine minutes to notice that the shape of the boys ear precisely echoes that of the rough along the squirrels— and that Copley was making some kind of connection between the animal and the human body and the sensory capabilities of each. It was 21 minutes before I registered the fact that the fingers holding the chain exactly spanned the diameter of the water glass beneath them. It took a good 45 minutes before I realized that the seemingly random for old and wrinkles in the background current in are actually perfect copies of the shapes of the boy’s ear and eye, as if they had imagined those sensory organs distributing or imprinting themselves on the surface behind him.
  • To illustrate this point, I signed a similar project to students in one of my courses. They were asked to take a silent walk for an hour, and to capture all they had heard and saw. Some chose a city setting, others the woods, and some sad their own kitchen table. They made long list of observations, realizing in the process that on most days they move so quickly—and noisily— through the lies that they miss the chance to observe what’s happening around them.
  • By actively engaging in the world, you begin noticing patterns and opportunities.
  • Consider the story of the founding of Lyft, which along with other ridesharing firms is changing the way people get around. It all started in Zimbabwe, Africa where Logan Greene was traveling for pleasure. He knows that drivers traveling on the crowded streets picked up people along the way. A small car might be packed of 10 people, all happy to hitch a ride. Logan contrasted this with his experience back home in the United States, where most cars have a single passenger and the roads are clogged of commuters. He was inspired to consider a similar concept at home. This was the birth of Zim-Ride, named for Zimbabwe.
  • Over time the strategy for Zim-Ride a vault from arranging carpools for universities and companies to a mobile ridesharing platform. The company changed its name to Lyft, but the initial vision for the firm remained, triggered by Logan’s observation of ridesharing along a bustling road in Africa.
  • I often meet individuals who are desperately looking deep inside themselves to find something that will drive their passion. They miss the fact that, for most of us, our actions lead to our passion, not the other way around.
  • Passions are not innate, but grow from our experiences.
  • We all know that children are naturally curious, asking endless questions, such as wise the sky blue, why water is wet, and why they have to go to bed so early.
  • Unfortunately, the curiosities often quashed by responses such as, “because I said so.” Instead of answering honestly, we would do well to use these questions as a springboard, encouraging children to find out the answer for themselves. We can do this as adults to, by looking up answers are performing experiments.
  • Scott Barry Kaufman, the scientific director of the imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Despite the lower level of the role, I would get a chance to work with an amazing group of people on an exciting new initiative.
  • And nobody gave me the roadmap—I had to create it myself. In fact, when you get a job—any job— you aren’t given just that job, but rather the keys to the building. It’s up to you to decide where they will take you.
  • Over the years I’ve learned that everything is interesting once you approach it with an attitude of curiosity.
  • Engagement is a master key that opens up any door.

Chapter 2: envision. All the world’s a stage.

  • The ability to visualize is critically important for imagination. Unfortunately, as you get older, most of us aren’t encouraged to practice this skill. Jan childhood, we stop telling imaginative stories ourselves and focus instead on reading other people’s fiction, stop making artwork and begin looking at other people’s creations.
  • So many of the “prompts” began life unwittingly stifle free expression and imagination.
  • And licked at two photographs taken from the same angle in the same room, with both guests sitting in the same couch. At that moment she saw her life differently. The walls of her feature opened up, and she visualize yourself as the leader of a global company. She’s bright and driven, but had never considered that she could play out her life on a global stage.

Part two: creativity. Motivate and experiment.

  • The Cleveland Orchestra is a case in point. This organization set the goal to attract the youngest audience in its history by its 100th birthday in 2018. This world-class orchestra needed creative ways to bring new fans to the concert hall. To get this effort started, supporters launched a center for future audiences, with the mission of reaching listeners from preschool to college. As of 2014, their efforts have increased the number of young people in the hall from 8% to 20%. They’ve done this by enlisting the help of young ambassadors to promote events, by offering student passes, and by putting up a short concerts on Friday evenings, followed by a party.
  • Creative experimentation to bring more people to the arts doesn’t stop there. The theater company in New York and knowledge that many theatergoers are in need of entertainment and a nap by summation point so they decided to invite people to do both. The show, Dream of a Red Chamber, was designed to put people to sleep—the audience members remove their shoes and lounge in beds, surrounded by a cast of actors in elaborate costumes and I lulled by relaxing music. This idea explored what it’s like to create music for the third of our lives when we are asleep.

Chapter 3: motivate. You are the customer.

  • As a result of this interaction, at each subsequent company open house one of the Mayfield Fellows could be counted on to ask the company founder about his or her motivation. The range and depth of the responses were spectacular. It was abundantly clear to all of us which company leaders had thought about this question before and which had not. As one student wrote in her reflections on this experience, “after meeting a dozen different CEOs throughout the summer, it is clear that there is no recipe for becoming a perfect leader. The common denominator was those who are successful all had a clear vision for the future of the venture and are able to motivate others to work tirelessly toward these goals.”
  • Murray’s company, AUM Cardiovascular, is dedicated to eliminating deaths due to coronary heart disease. Picking up turbulent sounds from the heart using a handheld device that looks like an air hockey paddle, the noninvasive tool is designed to replace a test that cost $1000 with one that costs only $100, so that many more people can get access to this type of diagnostic testing.

Chapter 4: experiment, break some eggs.

  • This is the core of creativity: applying your imagination to address a challenge, and leveraging your motivation to begin experimentation.
  • Premortem’s help anticipate what might happen before they start work so they can avoid foreseeable issues and lay a solid foundation for success.
  • One visioning report describes the wild success they will be celebrating if all goes well, and another outlines all that might go wrong and why a proposed project could fail.
  • “We think the moral of the study is that maybe children are better at solving problems when the solution is an unexpected one,” says Gopnik.
  • “Innovation agitator”.
  • Asking for permission just transfers the risk to someone else. This is important. If you ask someone to endorse your experiment, you’re transferring the risk to them—and that has consequences.

Part three: innovation, focus and reframe.

Chapter 5: focus, take out the trash.

  • No matter what you are doing—eating assemblage, doing an interview, writing a report—you’re doing it mindfully or mindlessly.
  • If you want to be more productive and creative, and have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods. Where social networking should be done during a designated time, not a constant interruptions to your day… Increasing creativity will happen naturally as he came the multitasking and immerse ourselves in a single task for sustained periods of, say, 30 to 50 minutes.
  • Focusing on what is essentially is a powerful ability, perhaps the most powerful in the world.

Chapter 6: reframe, retrain your brain.

  • “I’m going to use a password to change my life… My pastor became the indicator.”
  • As described by Ian Urbina in the New York Times, others have used passwords as a way to motivate them to win the race, remember an important date, or hide his secret. This is a useful reminder that something as small as a password can be used to practice reframing.
  • The iconic example is Tylenol, which in 1982 suffered a blow that could easily have destroyed the company. The response has become a model for other firms. For reasons unknown, someone had replaced capsules of the pain medication with capsules of Sinai, resulting in seven deaths. The chairman of the parent company, Johnson & Johnson, made the decision to immediately withdraw all Tylenol from the store shelves, demonstrating that the company would do anything to protect customers. Corporate leaders set up a hotline for consumers, held press conferences to communicate that they knew, and announced new tamperproof packaging with a glued box, a plastic seal over the neck of the bottle, and the foil seal over the mouth of the bottle. The new packaging was released only six months after the crisis, demonstrating how quickly the company was responding.
  • A wonderful short story told by Benjamin Zander in their book, the Art of possibility, sums this up: a shoe factory sends to marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. The first scout sends a telegram back to the factory saying, “situation hopeless. The one where shoes.” But the second sends a triumphant message, “glorious business opportunity. They have no shoes.”

Part four: entrepreneurship, persist and inspired.

  • This was an entrepreneurial undertaking—an act of creation: going from nothing to something.

Chapter 7: persist, what floats your boat?

  • He wouldn’t have feeling in his fingers again for months.
  • As Josh Groban said, “a good day is when you go in and walk out sharing what you wanted to hear. A great days when you walk out steering what you never knew you wanted.”
  • Duckworth and her colleagues have also found that grit is strengthening when people are taught that frustration and mistakes are natural part of the learning process, not signs that you should give up.
  • When I told the students in my class that it was supposed to be challenging to generate 100 solutions to a problem, they are much more likely to succeed. The simple statement helped build their grit.
  • I often see people struggle to pursue their ideas, fearing that others, including their parents, or to prove. I remind those who ask for my advice that resistance to your idea is actually a gift, in that it gives you a chance to test the strength of your own convictions.

Chapter 8: inspire, tell me a story.

  • The starting point for multipliers is enticing talented people to join your team. One of the most powerful tools for doing so is telling a compelling story that captures your vision.
  • According to Chip and Dan Heath, co-authors of May to stick, there are several core principles for stories that are really compelling, and thus sticky. The stories must be easy to understand, have a surprising element, and both be believable and emotionally charged.
  • A case in point: when I interview job candidates, I always begin by asking them to tell me their story. The results are invariably illuminating. The response quickly unlocks their view of the world and reveals how they see themselves. Some stories focus on how fortunate candidates have been, some focus on their bad luck, some concentrate on how hard they work to get where they are, and some reveal a random walk through life. By hearing the stories, I can easily visualize how well poorly each candidate will look at the new role in the position that it holds.
  • We each have a story of our life that we carry with us, and it influences how we engage with each new experience. If I asked you to tell me your complete life story in as much detail as possible, it would probably take an hour or so. If you wrote a book and then your life story, it might take a dozen hours to read— less than one day of your life. We continually distill our story down to a collection of pivotal moments that we believe represent we are. We choose what episodes to include and how we frame them. The story say a great deal about us, but they also shaped the way which we engage with the world, and as a result how the world engages with us.
  • I remember running into an old friend who had worked with me many years earlier. We start trading stories of our shared experiences. It was fascinating how differently we remembered our time together. He recalled long lists of incidents in which he and others have been treated badly. I didn’t remember any of that. My memories were much less bitter sweet, I find humor in some of the scenarios that he still found terribly frustrating. If you didn’t know that we’d worked in the same company, you’d never have guessed it from my recollections. The two of us clearly have different ways of looking at the world, as evidenced by the completely different stories we told of that earlier time.
  • The company uses formal training sessions and newsletters to teach employees to recognize effective stories and how to create them to spread the word about the impact of their product.
  • He notes that, when stripped down to the story spine, the movie question loses many of its characters and much of what makes it so brilliant and memorable. That’s because the story spine is not the story, it’s the spine. It’s nothing but the bare-bones structure upon which the story is built.
  • This structure can also be used in an effective business pitch. Here’s an example of how it might work as scaffolding for product pitch for Cala Health, a startup described in detail in the introduction to this book:
    • Once upon a time, 8 million Americans suffered from hand tremors.
    • Every day, they had trouble with simple tasks, such as drinking a cup of coffee and buttoning their shirt.
    • But one day, Cala Health developed an inexpensive, noninvasive treatment that eliminated their hand tremors.
    • Because of that, there was an effective and affordable alternative to invasive brain surgery.
    • Because of that, many more people were able to get treatment for their condition.
    • Because of that, they became able to take care of themselves more easily.
    • Until finally, this new treatment became the standard of care for treating hand tremors.
    • And ever since then, millions of people have been able to live without debilitating symptoms.
  • Key goals for your story should be first to resonate with the passion of your audience and then to give them a clear path for action.
  • Six approaches for infecting others with your ideas: reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
  • Public commitments results in a much higher follow-through rate.
  • Inspiring others to act is not about getting people to do the things you want them to do, but motivating them to want to do those things.
  • Presence, Olivia says, is the core of charisma. We all recognize when we are with someone who is distracted and clearly not present. This lack of focus instantly destroys his or her charisma. Think of how you feel when someone looks at their cell phone in the middle of a conversation, or glances over your shoulder to see if there is someone more important in the room. Those with presence never do such things. They behave as though you are the only person in the room, and everyone and everything else has evaporated. No one can fake presence, because it’s obvious if a person isn’t fully engaged.
  • Finally, charisma involves power as described by Olivia: power is your perception of your ability to affect the world around you. Whether this be through raw physical power, or large amounts of memory, influence, expertise, intelligence, high social status and so forth. We look for clues of power in the person’s appearance, in others reactions to that person, but most of all in the person’s demeanor in their body language… The MIT media Lab was able to predict the outcome of a negotiation, sales calls, and business plan pitches with 87% accuracy without listening to a single word of content, only by analyzing the voice fluctuations in the facial expression of the person pitching.
  • She illustrated this transformation— of unlocking presence—beautifully while running a workshop on physical presence. Aleta demonstrate two ways to enter a room. In the first, she walked in casually and looked around. In the second, she walked in deliberately, planted her feet firmly and gracefully, stood up straight, and made war my contact at the others in the room. The difference was so dramatic that it moved me to tears. She literally transformed herself from nobody to somebody in seconds.

Conclusion, the end is the beginning.

  • Attitudes for effectiveness: engaged, motivated, focused, and persistent.
  • Actions for inventiveness: envisioning, experimenting, reframing, inspiring.
  • The invention cycle builds on the design thinking framework in three ways:
    • The invention cycle differentiates between creativity and innovation: the former leads to expected solutions, and the latter results in breakthrough ideas. This is an important distinction that encourages you to push beyond incremental ideas while generating ideas at each stage of the design thinking process.
    • The invention cycle takes attitude into account. Your mindset has a strong influence on the creative process and must be considered. The more engaged, motivated, focused and persisting you are, the more likely you will be to generate real innovation and to overcome obstacles along the path towards implementation.
    • The invention cycle also includes the implementation stage, in which ideas are manifested into the world, which requires persistent and inspiring others. This is an important step in that it not only allows ideas to scale, but also inspires others imagination to start the cycle anew.