Courage and Ideas

This was on my cup of Starbucks coffee today:

Winning Ideas

The Way I See It #290

On the battlefield of ideas, winning requires moving toward the sound of the guns.

— Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives

I’m not big on battle metaphors. Too often they lead to a zero-sum philosophy of “I win, you lose.” or “You win, I lose.” In other words, WE never win. I think that is shortsighted.

Still, I love the perception that courage is required with ideas. That is absolutely true.

Ideas are like love. You only get out of them what you’re willing to risk yourself.

Don’t be afraid of running toward the sound of the guns today.

The Room of Beauty

Beautiful Room
In your house you may have a room that is your favorite. Maybe it’s just a corner of the room. It’s where you enjoy sitting and spending time. When you’re there, everything just seems right. You experience peace, joy, comfort and encouragement when you’re there.Maybe it’s the decor, the lighting, the furniture or the music which makes this place special. It is a place of inspiration and motivation for you.

Your room may not be a room at all. It might be a restaurant or a park. It may be a movie or artwork. It may be a person.

You may not go into this room every day, but there’s comfort in knowing it is there when you want or need it. The hardest part is when you no longer can go to your room. Something happens and you lose a special place in your life.

On February 12th, the door to my room was shut. Never to be opened again.

My friend, mentor, spiritual guide and role model, John Kilgore, was unexpectedly removed from my life and the lives of others who loved him deeply.

John was unmatched, the utmost example of expressing love and compassion to those around him. He was famous, even infamous, for his unlimited and enveloping hugs. He had a special gift of making whomever he spoke with feel as though they were the most important person in the world to him in that moment. He desperately wanted people to know they were loved.

John taught me to sing… to worship. He taught me to see beauty in God’s creation: mountains, trees, flowers, sunsets… and people. He taught me how to love people with intensity and genuine compassion. He showed me how to bring the best out of those around me.

John was my first example of how to be an artistic man of God. I was desperate for that. My biggest regret was never sharing that with him.

So, what does this mean to you? You may have never met John. My tribute may not strike home with you. I hope you leave with this. Enjoy the rooms of beauty in your life. Never take them for granted. Soak them up and add your own beauty to theirs.

You never know when the door may close.

John visiting at hospital

John visiting us at the hospital upon the birth of my first son.

John, you changed my life. Thank you for loving me and my family. Thank you for making our lives full of beauty. We miss you greatly.

9 Film Characters for Creative Teams

Many ideas are borne out of solitude. The shower is a classic example of quiet alone-time creating a vacuum for new thoughts. Still, we usually have to bring these thoughts back to a team for development. We also have moments where we need to generate ideas in a team environment.

Having the proper team chemistry is critical for this creative work. It helps to have individuals fulfill certain roles to guide, inspire and cultivate ideas. Some of these roles played aren’t just beneficial, they’re critical.

Below are nine film characters who best epitomize these roles:

Indiana Jones – The Explorer
Indiana Jones

Creative teams need someone who will take them into uncharted territory. If you have an “Indie,” his sense of adventure coupled with his appreciation for different cultures will unearth treasures of ideas.

Sister Maria – The Creativity Facilitator
Sister Maria

Creative teams need creative environments. This is no problem for Maria. She knows when something special is needed – the sound of music, the aroma of candles, the inspiration of poetry or the invigoration of a team exercise. Her creativity sets the stage for others to generate ideas. That’s a special gift.

Q from James Bond – Mr. R & D

If you need tools and resources for your project, this is your man. Q may not make all the gadgets himself, but he knows what can be done and what is at your disposal. This can range from administrative needs to IT equipment.



Dorothy Gale – The Visionary
Dorothy Gale

Tired of Kansas? So is Dorothy. She has a dream of a better place. She wants better things for herself, but she also will align with the needs of others. She’s sensitive to those around her. She wants to make sure others get their courage, heart and brains. By helping them get what they want, she gets her own reward.

Danny Ocean – The Team Builder
Danny Ocean

Part of planning is defining roles. Ocean is a pro at foreseeing the skills and personalities necessary in pulling off a job. He also knows how to delegate responsibility. He’s not a one-man team, though he is extremely capable on his own. He realizes the value of a team.

Jason Bourne – The Improv Innovator
Jason Bourne

When you need ideas on-the-spot, look to Bourne. It seems as though whatever’s on hand becomes an instant resource in the fight for ideas. Anything seems to inspire him – the topic of conversation, a painting on the wall, an article he read this morning… he uses them for the moment at hand.

Erin Brockovich – The Go-Getter
Erin Brockovich

You can’t stay in brainstorming mode forever. Erin will move the team off dead-center. She pushes everyone into action and isn’t intimidated by hurdles. Though she may be a little brash, most people still have a healthy respect for her because she is hard working and brutally honest.





Morpheus – The Reality Check

Welcome to the real world. Morpheus sees things as they are, but also as they can be. He doesn’t want to pretend everything is OK. He wants to be active in making things better. He will face up to a dismal financial picture, but challenge everyone to rally together and beat the odds.

Clarice Starling – The Collaborator
Clarice Starling

If you have a room full of strong personalities, like the characters in this list, the potential for conflict is elevated. Clarice is superb at bringing out the best in team members. She can work well with authority, but also with the unsavory type. She never loses sight of the goal and pulls the necessary information out of individuals to keep the team moving forward.

A combination of these roles can create a potent, creative team. For more in-depth information on team roles in creativity and innovation, I recommend Tom Kelley’s book The Ten Faces of Innovation.