Friday, August 20, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Here's a 'man's best friend' story. My daughter is a Jack Russell Terrier lover, and got her dog Buddy 10+ years ago after winning a major equestrian competition (these being the favorite pets of Arabian horse owners). Buddy was a really smart and cool dog - everyone loved him and he affectionately came to be known as "the Mayor" (that's another story). After a few years of professing our affection for this four-legged member of the family, she surprised us with two of these unbelievable dogs (they're the same kind as Eddie on Frasier), and we became Jack Russell lovers all over again.

Fast-forward to last week - Buddy was not eating or feeling well, and after several anxious visits to the vet it was decided he needed exploratory surgery. Unfortunately, cancer was discovered and he passed away. The shock over losing Buddy so suddenly has left us saddened and reflective. Saddened because best friends are hard to come by; reflective in the realization that friendships are to be cherished. For sure the memories in our hearts help sustain at times like these, and time heals sorrows. But still, our pets ask so little and give so much and, unlike our two-legged friends, are always faithful and happy to see us. But even so, I can't think of a better time than right now to remember all of your two and four-legged friends: reach out and tell them how you really feel, hug them and give them kisses, cherish them always, and be there for them in all circumstances - like Buddy was for all of us. It's never easy losing a friend, so make sure you say and do everything to show them how you feel, today and every day; because you never really know when they might be gone.

On a different note, my message this week is about innovation:

"Serious play is not an oxymoron; it is the essence of innovation." Michael Schrage

Michael Schrage is a research fellow at the MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, and is one of the world’s most innovative thought leaders on innovation. He has redefined how we think about innovation by focusing on customer acceptance of new products and services as an integral part of the innovation process. He also has pioneered techniques to improve return on innovation investment.

Are you planning on being playful today? We’re all so serious in everything we do – we have to be serious parents and friends; we have to be serious and studious and professional at work; we have to approach what we do outside of work with a serious attitude if anyone is going to take us seriously. But seriously, lighten up and have some fun. Laugh, look on the lighter side and keep an eye out for the humor in yourself and others.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is a proverb. It means that without time off from work, or without some fun and humor at work, a person becomes both bored and boring. Is that how you see yourself in the mirror each morning; is that the way you want others to see you; is that how you want to be known???

The answer to those questions is most likely “no”, so take time today to have some fun at work, or at home, or at play, and then see how creative and innovative you can be. Engage in some serious play today and see how it improves your return on innovation investment!

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