Tag Archives: stop doing dumb things

Stop Doing Dumb Things – Available Here

Stop Doing Dumb Things is a deck of cards containing 48 thoughts and ideas designed to help you unlock creativity and make work better. To make it work you simply shuffle the deck, draw a card, then act on it or ignore it.

A set of cards costs just £25 plus £5 P&P and £6 VAT, a total of £36. £2 from the sale of every pack of Stop Doing Dumb Things is donated to the Arts Emergency charity.

Stop Doing Dumb Things is designed by Doug Shaw and inspired by many people, including Joe Gerstandt, Carole Shaw, Meg Peppin, Joe Strummer, Heather Bussing, David Zinger, Keira Shaw, William Tincup and John Sumser.

To order your cards, either visit the Paypal website and send the money using the email address doug[dot]shaw[at]wgalimited[dot]com, or contact me via the same email address with your order and I’ll send you an electronic invoice. In both cases, don’t forget to include a postal address. Cards will be shipped on receipt of cleared funds.

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How Are People Using Stop Doing Dumb Things?

Stop Doing Dumb Things was first designed as an antidote for people who get stuck in their work. Whether it’s writing a research paper, a sales proposal, an HR guide or a presentation – people often need a nudge when their thinking starts to go round in circles. And because of the way many of us work – getting stuck happens often. This also happens when we’re working in teams. For example, team meetings often fail to yield the desired results because people form and follow patterns that, as they repeat and reinforce, tend to exclude more creative, diverse thinking. In those environments – the cards are designed to break the circle by offering an alternative viewpoint, or a suggested action to take.

Since their launch in September 2013 Stop Doing Dumb Things are selling all over the world, to individuals and teams in the UK, Europe, USA, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. These are some of the many things people say they use the cards for:

Coaching
Getting unstuck
Trying something different
Adaptability
Exchanging ideas
Why not? (The intention is to make acting on the cards a voluntary process. So when people draw a card and don’t wish to act on it – what’s stopping them? This discussion yields interesting results about the way people work together).

People also use them a lot to support exploratory work around creativity and collaboration. The cards are a great aid to problem solving, getting to know one another better, changing perspectives – all kinds of things that people need, and often forget.

Stop Doing Dumb Things are a simple, helpful tool to help make change happen, and to underpin the idea that small things can make a big difference.

Stop Doing Dumb Things

What We Are Not

History

In my penultimate role for BT I set up the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy and team for the Wholesale division. It was great fun and we had a lot of success engaging customers, colleagues and suppliers in finding better ways of serving each other and working together. After I left BT to set up What Goes Around I offered CSR consulting and research as one of our services. I’ve been trading for very nearly four years now and in that time I have researched and written one CSR report for a client, and that was back in 2011.

Now

The focus at What Goes Around is currently all about enabling companies to be more effective through improving communication, collaboration and creativity. My experience in the field of CSR and sustainability is no longer current, clients don’t think ‘We must get Doug in for advice on our CSR strategy’, and CSR no longer fits closely enough with the work I love doing.

Stop

So as of today, I no longer do CSR consulting and research. Over the summer months I’ll be thinking even more carefully about what I am not, so that in turn, you will more clearly see what I am. I am on a journey, this step will take a few more weeks to finish thinking through, and it’s something I’m very excited about. As things become even clearer, I hope it excites you too.

Thanks

There is another, perhaps even more important reason why this change is necessary. Once clients engage and then work with me I typically get lovely, helpful feedback on my approach and the outcomes of our collective endeavours, but at the same time, I know that people are sometimes confused about what I offer, and how I can be of use to them. As Neil Morrison elegantly put it to me, ‘Your conversion rate is great, but you simply don’t get enough enquiries’. Rob Jones has made similar observations, and they’re both right, and the situation is not good enough. It’s not good enough for our customers, or for me.

As well as acknowledging Neil and Rob’s help – I also want to give a hat tip to Ian Pettigrew And Ed Percival. Ian and Ed have been generous with their time on a few occasions recently, offering time to think and useful advice around clarity and purpose.

Question

So my question to you today (and whether you are the head of a department, a front line employee, a board director, a small business owner or any point in between, it makes no difference), is this. What do you offer that nobody wants? Find it, and stop it so that you can free up time for something more effective, more productive and more enjoyable instead.

Own it, Dump it, Be it.

There’s already a load of great content coming out of yesterday’s Stop Doing Dumb Things unconference here, courtesy of Martin Couzins.

Here are three things that have popped into my head and onto the blog, as a result of my observations since yesterday:

1. Take Responsibility and dooooo something

Yeah I know – we need leaders to lead, and if only they did this and that everything would all be so much cooler than it is now. Stop waiting for your leaders to get their shit together and lead yourself. You can remember how to do stuff, right?

2. Dump Barclays

Neil Jervis wondered if the status quo would only change when customers desert a company in droves. Well here we are one day on from the unconference and Barclays Bank has handed you a reason to leave them, on a plate. They’ve been screwing their customers through manipulation of interest rates for years. So don’t bank with them anymore. There are better financial institutions out there. Show Barclays and others that you give a damn, and dump them, now!

3. Being human matters

Time and time again, we came back to how important it is to be treated with a little respect. To be listened to, to know your colleagues at least a little way beyond their employee ident number. The most powerful take away for me from a day like yesterday is simply high quality, human interaction. Fun, frustration, smiles, humility, just being human.

If you were at the unconference – what might you add to the list? And if you weren’t, what’s on your mind right now? Fancy sharing it?