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How Reframing a Problem Unlocks Innovation

I came across this great article recently that got me thinking about how many of us respond when problems arise. We often immediately jump to how this problem can be solved, but forget to really take a look at what the problem actually is. The simple process of asking why may help us analyze the problem from a variety of angles and potentially develop a better solution. Do you have any success stories of getting to the root of a problem? What was the outcome? Your success story may help a colleague get to the root of their problem.

Thanks Google

Say that everyone has been talking about that television show. Your friends. Your coworkers. That friendly neighbor lady. You want to know more about it. Correction: You need to know more. So, you go to your desktop computer. You go to your laptop. You go to your iPad. You go to your phone. Wherever you are you get to the Internet and get to that Google.

This looks interesting. Thanks Google.


NetflixRentals.JPGI have been sitting in on the conference committee this year, which has been great fun. We did a huge brain dump of all of our session and keynote presenter ideas, and one of the committee members turned me on to Kevin Quealy, a Minnesota native who does infographics for the NY Times. I'm obsessed with his work.

His animations and static graphics bring information to life. This graphic on Olympic long jumpers uses everyday comparisons that most of us can relate to, such as the length of the free-throw line on a basketball court.

At a glance, we can see how people spend their time--and click on 18 different variations of the data.

And this is cool: Who goes to State Dinners, from what industries, and how many times?

One thing you don't see here? Lengthy copy with various font sizes, masquerading as "infographic." (Google "view our infographic" for more like these.)

How do you share information without text?

Design thinking: A new egg carton?

Welcoming spring with this innovative egg box design by a University of West Hungary student.


The redesigned carton is made of cardboard and a rubber band. It's flexible and environmentally friendly.

Think it will make it to the supermarket?

Encouraging Workplace Innovation

It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind, which leaves little time to evaluate how inefficient we have become. I think it is time we all take a step back and think about how we can be more innovative in both our personal and professional lives.

This article "Three ideas for encouraging workplace innovation" might help you kick-start innovations in your work. There is no better time than now, right?

Go for the Maroon and Gold: Training Tip

Ever been put on the spot to produce a great idea...? And, realized that your creative juices were not flowing? Drumming up creativity can be a tricky thing, especially if when you get stuck on these hang ups (

That's why it's important to put aside some time during your week to exercise your creative muscles.... starting with this: 29 ways to stay creative (

Also, don't forget the UMCF annual conference is coming up July 26!  And, we're pleased to announce that Beth Perro-Jarvis and Mary Van Note, Partners of Ginger Consulting, will be leading a session on creativity.

P.S. Check out this cool story about Ginger Consulting on Star Tribune (

Technology and Communicating With Students

This article from UW Milwaukee caught my eye because my friend's sweet son is in the lead photo.

Technologies help students pass to head of the class

But as I read, I was stunned by this statement:
"Summarizing a recent study from Ball State University, UWM First Year Center Director Ericca Pollack says 30 percent of students regularly use email, while 97 percent use some form of text messaging." [Emphasis is mine]
Am I super old-school because I still email? Can I even connect with students today without texting?

UW-Milwaukee's students are meeting with advisers via Skype and taking virtual field trips online. Some of our Forum members work in student services and classroom technology; what do you think of this piece? How have you changed the way you communicate with students over the past few years? How has the classroom changed? Please share your comments.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

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The current issue of EDUCAUSE Review highlights mobile technology within the realm of higher education. It includes articles on e-books, iPads, websites, devices, and change.

Even if talk about developing for mobile devices might be what you hear all day long, the future of technology is not about specific devices. It's more about enabling change in communication structures and empowering people. This reminds me of what Meghan Wilker and Nancy Lyons suggested to the MinneWebCon audience on Monday: taking down cubicle walls does not change workplace culture -- people do.

Meghan and Nancy will also be presenting at the Communicators Forum "Making Our Case" conference on May 12. Check out their Geek Girls Guide.

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