Mar 042013


OK, you’ve set your mind to be more creative/innovative, but where do you start?

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “everyone’s a critic”. It describes the (good? bad?) habit people have of critiquing things that they find faulty or not up to their expectation.

The next time you find yourself in that situation, do 2 things:


Being creative/innovative doesn’t solely mean finding the next great business idea to displace Facebook.

You can apply your creative skills to something small yet meaningful in your private or business life.

I’ll give you a personal example which I think illustrates my point.

Many years ago (10+?), I saw the way my wife (Teri) was keeping track of people’s vacation days, using a combination of email and Excel. When an employee wanted to request a day of vacation, (s)he would send an email to his/her manager and cc Teri. The manager would then approve (or not) the vacation and Teri would faithfully record the day in Excel. When either the manager or the employee wanted to know the numbers of days the employee had taken or had left, they would contact Teri, who would pull out Excel and provide them with an answer.

Tedious, right? And I won’t even mention what Teri had to do to produce a report to HR for ALL employees.

I thought to myself: there’s gotta be a better way!

So instead of criticizing the way Teri was keeping track of days (well, maybe I did), the software engineer in me thought “I can come up with something better”. And so, I created “Days!”; the days-off requesting/tracking system that is not only used in my wife’s department but practically in the whole firm, worldwide!

Teri no longer had to update her spreadsheet. Employees can now request days electronically using a simple web form and their managers can easily approve/deny the request directly from Outlook. Both managers and employees can now see how many days they have taken and are left.  And for Teri, creating a nicely formatted report to HR is a simple click away

Sure, the solution I came up with might not be the best solution, there’s no integration with Outlook for example (it wasn’t available back then). But the point is that there was something quite inefficient and I did something about it.

Along the same lines, why waste your energy griping about something that constantly bugs you, while you could use that energy looking into a creative solution to the problem?

So, next time you see something that is within your power to fix/improve, don’t complain but use your creativity do something about it!

Love/hate the post? Let me know.

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