Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Making Da Vinci Stick

Whoever coined the phrase "curiosity killed the cat" never met Mark Fox, the Heath brothers or Leonardo Da Vinci.

Mark, Chip, Danny and Lenny tend to view the world from a horizontal, broad-based perspective as opposed to vertical, linear fashion. All four are fascinated by patterns revealing the connectedness of things. Their scope ranges far and wide before plunging narrow and deep.

Would you like a glimpse of the world they see?

But before you do, here are their credentials:

Leonardo Da Vinci: (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519)
Thanks to Wikipedia, we learn that Leonardo was a polymath: architect, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, inventor, geometer, musician, futurist and painter. In fact, he is considered to be one of the greatest painters who ever lived, famous for his realistic paintings, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, as well as for influential drawings such as the Vitruvian Man. Leonardo conceived ideas vastly ahead of his own time, notably conceptually inventing the helicopter, a tank, the use of concentrated solar power, the calculator, a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics, the double hull, and other ideas too numerous to mention in this short paragraph. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were feasible during his lifetime, as modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy. But Da Vinci greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, astronomy, civil engineering, optics, and the study of water (hydrodynamics).

Chip Heath:
Chip is a Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He is co-author of the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, which has been a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek bestseller. Chip's research examines why certain ideas—ranging from urban legends to folk medical cures, from Chicken Soup for the Soul stories to business strategy myths—survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas. These “naturally sticky” ideas spread without external help in the form of marketing dollars, PR assistance, or the attention of leaders.

Dan Heath:
Dan is a Consultant to the Policy Programs for the Aspen Institute. He is the co-author of Made to Stick and is also a columnist for Fast Company magazine. He has spoken and consulted on the topic of "making ideas stick" with organizations such as Microsoft, Nestle, the American Heart Association, Nissan, and Macy's.

Mark Fox:
Mark was the youngest person ever promoted to Chief Engineer on the Space Shuttle program at the age of 31. He is a leading authority on teaching practical creative thinking techniques for business with an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering to go with his MBA. Some of Mark’s unique accomplishments include increasing e-business sales 600 percent in one year, receiving NASA’s highest recognition of “Launch Honoree” at the age of 23, and in his spare time he has built a 10,000-pound rocket and constructed his own airplane.

Fox is also an author, breaking new ground with Da Vinci and the 40 Answers.

As he explains, "This is not a “_______ for Dummies” book".

Da Vinci and the 40 Answers will require you to think as opposed to lose yourself in a John Grisham mystery or Danielle Steele novel. With a focus on creativity, innovation, marketing, and advertising, Mark's book is intended to help you see your business and life through the eyes of several great thinkers: Leonardo Da Vinci, Genrich Altshuller, Buckminster Fuller, and Walt Disney. He sharpens the focus of their collective creativity through the lens of The 40 Universal Answers, founded on the principles of TRIZ – the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.

In his study of hundreds of thousands of patents, Altshuller (father of TRIZ) determined there are only about 1,500 basic problems – and each of these can be solved by applying one or more of the 40 universal answers. One of the goals of Mark's book is to explain the 40 Answers, or principles, as ways to view and conquer problems or opportunities from a unique perspective.

TSB has a hunch that Fox has been paying attention to what the Heath brothers were saying in Made to Stick..

Mark Fox is a rocket scientest who is on a mission to help everyday people solve problems without having to achieve that level of academic excellence. Kudos to Mark for embracing the principles of Made to Stick, which has been ensconced in the TSB library for some time, but Da Vinci and the 40 Answers is about to make its appearance any day now.

It has been said many times that readers are leaders and that any success you enjoy will be primarily influenced by the 5 people you spend the most time with and the books that you read. Books are also a great way to get to know people like Mark, Chip, Danny and Lenny a little bit better.

What is on your reading list these days?

And where has curiosity taken you?

"What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed and paralyzed so that by the time most people are mature they have lost their innate capabilities"

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