The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Unlock Your Creativity

Season 2: Episode 4 With Tim Duggan

KILLER… perhaps not the most obvious acronym for a constructive process, but Tim Duggan believes the best ideas are exactly that: Kind, Impactful, Loved, Lasting, East and Repeatable.

Having penned the much-heralded & highly awarded ‘Cult Status’, Tim’s follow-up title provides a simple 8-step methodology for turning good ideas into great ones by harnessing the power of creativity.

During his second appearance on That Digital Village Show!, he sits down with Luke and Paul to give invaluable insight into his latest book, why he prefers hippos over gorillas and the need to schedule boredom. It’s an unmissable episode for anybody looking to harness their creativity – a quality he believes all have engrained – to provide fresh thinking for seemingly complex problems. I think we all agree it’s something we could use right now…

Tim Duggan is an author, advisor and optimist who firmly believes in the power of business to do good.

He has co-founded several digital media ventures, most notably Junkee Media, the leading digital publisher for young Australians, which was acquired by ASX-listed oOh!media.

His first book, ‘Cult Status: How To Build A Business People Adore’, was named the Best Entrepreneurship and Small Business Book at the 2021 Australian Business Book Awards. His second book on creativity in the workplace, Killer Thinking, is out now. 

He’s also currently the Chairman of the Digital Publishers Alliance, a group representing over 100 titles from the leading independent publishers in the country, as well as working with a range of businesses that he’s passionate about.


Tim Duggan

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:02):

Welcome back to another episode of the digital village podcast, the podcast, all about the latest tech trends, impacting business people and planet. In this episode, we’re touching on the topic I work closely in, in my day to day life, specifically, customer experience switching things up this week, Luke and Paul from digital village will be hosting and they will be joined by Tim Duggan, author of two books. Now, cult status, and the newly released killer thinking. They’ll be discussing the practical and mindset of creativity, how we’re all creative and the processes you can use to maximize this in everything you do for yourself. And in business today’s episode is also sponsored by Macari financial derivatives market exchange. They’ve helped with a new, incredible space and tech for this podcast. So thank you guys. We appreciate the help. So sit back and enjoy the episode.

Speaker 2 (00:51):

So welcome back to the digital village podcast. Episode nine on, uh, a subject that both of us are absolutely passionate about, which is a new book, Luke

Speaker 3 (01:02):

Indeed called killer thinking by Tim Duggan.

Speaker 2 (01:08):

So Jason has had enough both of us, apparently. Yeah. So he’s disappeared off to Europe. I got off three months. I can’t blame him. The weather he’s been shocking. 70% of the day, since the beginning of the year have had rain. Interest rates are climbing. The federal election happens next week. So by the time you hear this, the country will be run by a Motley crew of either labor or liberals with a smattering of till colored independence. Um, the stock market’s crumbling crypto is in bits after the lunar crash, Elon Musk is having doubts about whether or not he should get wet to, to Twitter. And Mike Cannon Brooks has parked his tanks on the lawn in front of AGL. It’s all kicking off in Australia. I can tell you, and against this maelstrom of technology driven catastrophes, our next guest has chosen to launch his second book to teach us all well, how to unleash the creative beast within, uh, waiting to create perhaps the next Netflix or keep up or canvas. So welcome Tim Duggan. Lovely to have you back on the show.

Speaker 4 (02:07):

Thank you very much. It is wonderful to be back here.

Speaker 2 (02:10):

We’ve got a lot to talk about in a relatively short period of time. So we are not gonna talk an awful lot, but we hope you will. Um, both Luke and I have have read killer thinking. It’s an really, really exciting book and a fantastic follow up to Colt stasis, which was an award-winning book. You wrote two or three years ago now, and we interviewed you on that one. Um, so we’re looking forward to hearing more about it. I’d like to start really by just asking you what was the motivation behind starting to write that book, having written col status.

Speaker 4 (02:41):

It’s funny that Colt status was my first book and writing. The first book is unusual because you don’t know if anyone’s going to read it <laugh> I kind of wrote it for myself and yeah, in my wildest dreams, if one person read it and thought it was good, that to me was success. Um, luckily enough, lots of people read it and enjoyed it. And it really started me thinking about, okay, what would a follow up look like? And I wanted to explore the same world as cult status. If that makes sense. I, I live in a world. I’m an optimist and I’d live in a world where I believe business can be used as a force for good. I believe creativity can solve problems. Um, and I wanted to write a bit of a companion book, if that makes sense, going deep into one area of running a business, which is creativity and ideas. And either coming up with the idea for a business at the start of a journey, or once you have an established business, how do you use creativity, creativity to problem solve and to sure, kind of get some solutions to things that are pretty hard there, a new way. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:51):

So the thing that really struck me when I started reading it was your belief that everyone is creative. So, you know, I, I’m an engineer by heart by trade that’s where I sort of learned my, uh, sort of went through university and into, into business. I never thought of myself as being a creative person, but why do you think everyone is creative?

Speaker 4 (04:10):

I wholeheartedly believe not just believe no everyone is creative. All of us as kids are encouraged to be creative. We get crayons, we get paint. Yeah. We get, you know, told to make things and break things. Then teenage years come on. And maybe it’s a bit cool uncool to kind of be creative or you, you know, you might get distracted by boys or girls or other things gonna going on. Um, and what happens then is that we become adults and some people have creativity in their titles. So for some people you might be a creative at work. You might be a copywriter, a creative director did. Yeah. And I, what I realized and I came up through advertising agencies in my early twenties before co-founding junky media in my mid to late twenties. And I realized that when you get people around a table to talk about creativity or to come up with ideas, yes, the people who have creative in their title are pretty good at things, but there’s such amazing. Creativity comes from unexpected places. So anytime we would get to a creative ideation session and would get someone from finance to come in, we would get the receptionist to come and sit in the table. And the way that they think was always extraordinary, they would always would start off in the same place with briefs. And this is what we’re trying to solve. And everyone would then go off in their own way. And that just really made me realize that everyone, including you, Paul are extremely creative who knew <laugh> well,

Speaker 3 (05:40):

Yeah. Was there a lot of pushback or was it challenging for people who wouldn’t normally do that to come in and participate in that kind of process?

Speaker 4 (05:47):

It, it is. Yeah. Cuz cuz creativity is a self-belief thing. Yeah. Some people believe that they are not creative. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (05:54):

Well I think it’s kind of like trained out of people a little bit. Isn’t it? As you

Speaker 4 (05:57):

Very much. So go

Speaker 3 (05:58):

Through a, a non-creative career path. People would maybe like you not to be so creative if you’re in like accounting or finance

Speaker 4 (06:06):

<laugh> so, I mean, I’ve got, I bet some wonderfully creative accountants. Yes they do. You sure do great things with my tax bills <laugh> um, so yeah, I think, I think creativity is a belief. And what I wanted to do with this book was to empower people, to read it for anyone to pick it up. Even if you don’t think you are creative yeah. And read it and get some kind of inspiration around, you know, what, maybe I can think up an amazing idea.

Speaker 2 (06:32):

So, so one of the themes that come through very strongly in the book is the way that you set up a creative environment to allow everybody to contribute. Um, and this idea that, um, it’s a mix of being creative on your own and then creative in a group of people. Um, and making sure that when that group come together, you don’t have what you describe as hippos.

Speaker 3 (06:56):

I love that. <laugh>

Speaker 2 (06:58):

Do you wanna tell us

Speaker 4 (06:59):

About that? Yeah. So hippos hippos is this great term that I came across. I don’t know where I originally discovered it, so it’s not my original concept, but it stands for the highest paid person’s opinion. H I P P O. And it means when you come together to creatively ideate to come up with ideas, often the highest paid person’s opinion is what will dictate. Whether someone will talk about an idea, whether someone will think something’s good or not. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (07:24):

Even just their presence, like sitting in the corner, people will, they radiate this kind of influence,

Speaker 4 (07:29):

Even when they’re not in the room often, it’s like, what will the boss think of this idea? And I therefore have, you know, I, I spent a lot of time in creative brainstorm over the years and I talk a lot in the book around how much I dislike brainstorm. We’ll gotta

Speaker 2 (07:46):

Come onto that.

Speaker 4 (07:46):

<laugh> yeah. Okay. We’ll, we’ll get to, that’s a, that can be a whole podcast in itself. Um, so yeah, I think psychological safety and people being, uh, comfortable in sharing ideas that are generally fragile when you come up with something that’s really important to the whole process.

Speaker 2 (08:07):

Yes. Yes. And, and in the book you do the same thing that you do in cult status, which is to give people these IRLs yes. Which are basically simple instructions or little work exercises to do, to extract some of these things.

Speaker 4 (08:21):

Yeah. The, the wonderful thing about writing a book is that you can write it for people like yourself. And the way that I love to read books is I love to get inspired. So like show me this big vision of something. And then once I understand the vision, tell me how I can actually do it myself.

Speaker 2 (08:39):

Yes. So ILS stands for

Speaker 4 (08:41):

Stands for in real life, in real

Speaker 2 (08:43):


Speaker 4 (08:43):


Speaker 3 (08:43):

I was actually thinking about that as I was going through each chapter, it starts off with like quite a lot of like context setting. And like, as you say, broad vision and I, I was thinking, I was really interested by this, by the title of this chapter. And we are talking about this in a way and I’m thinking, oh my gosh, <laugh> and this there’s, you know, this is a lot of, you know, awesome experience. And this is a great story, but then it comes down to the end, to the end of the chapter. And like, this is what it is. This is how you do it. Yeah. These are the exercises that you can go through. It’s like, oh, this is great.

Speaker 4 (09:17):

Yeah. Then that’s actually how I try to write each chapter. Yeah. So I try to start big and start with what’s the vision, what’s an example. That’s gonna illustrate this. What’s a company that people might know or may have never heard of that you can introduce them to, and then just narrow it down, narrow it down. By the time you get to the end of the chapter, hopefully people should be like, yep. I agree with you. That’s how I wanna do it. Yeah. And then it’s okay. Here’s how to actually do it. Get out a piece of paper, write down this, heading, answer these questions and that’s how I like to work. Yeah. And that’s why I think I get to indulge a little bit in how I like to learn, which is inspire me and then show me how to do it. Yeah. And that’s what I try to do with other people.

Speaker 2 (09:58):

So that’s great. Let’s, let’s go back to the beginning. Killer. Not something you would normally associate with something that’s either loved or adored or impactful, but killer thinking. So what came first? The acronym or the, the word or the combination of those two words.

Speaker 4 (10:12):

Great question. <laugh> um, the word came first. So, so killer thinking I had as an idea and the way that I thought about killer thinking was I didn’t want to write a book of about creativity. That was just about killer ideas. The concept of a killer idea is kind of pretty well known. That’s a concept that exists long before I put pen to paper. But the way that I thought about it was killer thinking was that unique combination of killer ideas and killer execution together. Right. Put those two things together, that

Speaker 3 (10:41):


Speaker 4 (10:41):

Right? Yes. And you have a process of killer thinking. So that came first, the name of the book. And then when I started to speak to people all around the world who had what I thought were examples of killer thinking. So it was, I went down to Melbourne and spent some time with Travis Garone who was a co-founder one of the co-founders of November. Yeah. I think that’s a really killer idea. Yeah. And then I spent some time on the phone with Hemi Ortiz, Marino who started LA Lala, which is where they shut down the streets, a Bogata to cars every Sunday. Yeah. And so I started speaking to all these different people about these ideas, Abigail ForSight, who co-founded keep cup. And as I was speaking to them, after I do every interview, I write down little summaries to myself of like, okay, what’s the crux of what they’re trying to say.

Speaker 4 (11:32):

And then I try and figure out once I’ve done 10 20 of these interviews, I try and connect the dots. Yeah. What do these people have in common that I can pull out to help other people do the same thing. As I started doing that, a bunch of these things started jumping out. So things like, uh, killer in the book stands for kind impactful, loved lasting, easy and repeatable. And as I started looking at these ideas, I realized they had things in common and then it started all fall into place. And there was this light bulb moment that was, could this work, if it spelled out the word I needed to look up at the SOS

Speaker 2 (12:06):


Speaker 4 (12:07):

There was the SOS and some of the words to make sure that they really fit into there, but the bulk of it was there. And it was a really nice kind of light bulb moment.

Speaker 2 (12:15):

It’s, it’s an incredibly powerful metaphor. And, and I, and very easy to understand the thing that strikes me about it as well is how that relates back to what you do with cult status in talking about creating adored organization. So you start with love. Yes. Cult status starts with adoration or, you know, creating organizations that people want to be part of.

Speaker 4 (12:37):

Yeah. That, that inter labor, it’s

Speaker 2 (12:38):

A, it’s very powerful, uh, way of looking at how we generate think or how we generate great ideas and turn them into killer ideas. Ah

Speaker 3 (12:46):

Yeah. Or even make places where great ideas happen. Yes. I think if you have an adored organization and you were talking about this in like the last podcast, like, you know, having, you know, kindness as a center of a business, this brings in people who are going to be very interested, you know, in creating things that, that are, you know, really killer and that’s and moving those ideas, as you say, from good to great to killer. There’s a lot of investment in there already.

Speaker 4 (13:12):

Yeah. Yeah. The interplay between the two concepts was important to me. Yeah. I didn’t want to do a complete U-turn on that world of cult status that I really believe in, which is how you build a business that has, is really loved and adored. And so the interplay, the fact that in killer, one of the LS in killer stands for loved loved. Yeah. And really, if you wanna go deep into that read cult status. Yep. So it’s, there’s, there’s a really lovely interplay between the two and I wasn’t intentional just came out that way and then once it started coming out, um, it’s funny when you write a book, you have a, a thesis at the start on what a topic could be, and then you just chase it down, whichever path it goes down. It’s not until the end, you can stand back and look at it and realize that it, where it has gone.

Speaker 2 (14:01):

So at what point did, did the, the eight steps emerge from that process?

Speaker 4 (14:07):

Yeah. So not until the second draft.

Speaker 3 (14:09):

Wow. Oh, wow. Okay.

Speaker 4 (14:10):


Speaker 2 (14:10):


Speaker 4 (14:11):

So interestingly, the first draft of the book, I had most of the content there. Yeah. But I didn’t, I was trying to not put myself into a box. So the first book col status has seven steps to achieving Colt status. And step one, do this step two, do this. And I tried to write my second book thinking, I don’t want to just do the exact same step to, I L let’s think, think about a whole different way of thinking about this. So i’vee it. And it wasn’t quite there. It was, it was a bit jumbled. Um, it didn’t quite make sense. And I, I sent it off to my publisher and they read it and said to me, have you considered putting it into steps the same as go status <laugh> but I said, I had, and I dunno if I wanna do steps again.

Speaker 4 (15:00):

And he said, just try it. Yeah, I tried it. And the whole thing just clicked into this. It was just, just made sense. I had the steps inside my head. Yeah. Yes. I’d been playing around with different language around it. And as soon as I did that and did steps, chapter big picture thinking IRL, step two, chapter big picture thinking IRL, it just made sense. And it made me realize that when a reader reads a book, there’s something that I’ve been thinking about this for years and going over it and a reader picks it up. And it’s the first time they probably thought about this in this way. Yeah. You really need to sign post and make it easy for someone to understand, to take them on a journey. Mm. And for me doing, explaining what it is explaining the killer framework and then saying, these are the eight steps, step one, step two, step three. And then the end you say, and these were the eight steps that you just, you just learned that makes it easy for someone to understand. Yes. And that’s really important when it comes to non-fiction books.

Speaker 2 (16:00):

It is. So let’s just dive into some of those steps because there are some incredibly examples of them, uh, in, in each of the steps. Um, and the first one is be your own

Speaker 4 (16:10):

Therapist, be your problems. Therapist’s right. Your

Speaker 2 (16:12):

Problem. Therapist’s problem therapist. And you give this example of seven 11. Do you want just talk us through that example? I love, I love

Speaker 4 (16:19):

Classic. I love this story. Um, and it’s so fun again, to research and think about all of these things and they’re things that you just discover when you’re thinking about a book that might be in the back of your head, or when you do research and broad reading, you might discover it somewhere. So it was talking about seven elevens and it started off in, um, Canada in the 1980s. And there was lots of young people would turn up to seven 11 car parks, um, particularly after hours. So when I got to 7, 8, 9 o’clock, they would just hang out in the car, parks, listening to music, doing what young people do. Good, good on. They needed somewhere to go. Yeah. And I needed to make sure in when I wrote this story, that this is not an young person thing, this is more just an example of killer thinking.

Speaker 2 (17:02):


Speaker 4 (17:03):

Age, pre-internet age. Absolutely. Totally. What else were they going to do? Yeah. Needed some,

Speaker 2 (17:07):

No social media.

Speaker 4 (17:08):

Exactly. So the, so the 1980s kids in teenagers in Canada would go and sit in Seven-Eleven car parks. So seven 11 were trying to figure out how do we creatively solve this problem? And the way that they did it, first of all, was to think through some of the obvious ideas. So obvious ideas would be let’s hire security, guards, security guards can stand there and move the kids on. Let’s go out and tell the kids, Hey kids, maybe you should, you know, go away. Let’s turn the lights off. You know, maybe if they turn the lights off, they’re not gonna hang around. All of these things were kind of obvious ideas. And in this, in the scheme of the book, that’s probably a good idea, a good idea. It might be just be turning the lights off. It’s pretty easy to do. It’s got some drawbacks, most ideas.

Speaker 4 (17:52):

I, I, um, hypothesize are pretty good ideas, but they had a, um, a brainstorming session and they got everyone together. And the way that they tried to think about this was we need to put ourselves in the minds of these young people. So if I’m a young person and I’m going to a seven 11 car park, why am I doing that? It’s because I want to seem cool to my friends. I wanna go there might wanna pick someone up, might wanna chat, chat to someone I’d been calling up on their home phone and then this the 1980s. Yeah. Um, so the whole idea of trying to look cool was the main motivator of why young people were there. So someone in the meeting suggested this really simple idea, and this is, uh, where, uh, the solution came from. They said, why don’t we make it uncool for the kids to hang out in the car park and the way of making it uncool was playing really daggy music.

Speaker 4 (18:46):

Yeah. So either classical music or Barry Manalow Barry man was used, the Manalow effect was used a lot in Australia. Yeah. Um, and so they decided they turned on their speakers and they started playing classical music through the speakers. And all of the kids, all of a sudden were like, this makes me look uncool. I don’t wanna do this. And they left the car park. So really simple solution that now has been used, used all over the world. Um, we won’t go into the effects of displacing young people just where you don’t want ’em to be by playing music, but more the idea of, if you really wanna understand how to solve a problem, you need to understand the problem better than anyone else

Speaker 2 (19:24):

Quite. And it’s a great example. And there are, there are lots of others. I dunno if you wanna pick out any Luke from, um, the other seven or eight steps, one of the ones I was really keen to talk about was this, uh, one about plus each other’s ideas. And did you coin the phrase celebration? Is that your, um, you trademarked that one?

Speaker 4 (19:44):

Uh, so Isaac, Isaac, Isaac Asimov, who’s a science fiction writer. He originally came up with the, with the, with this term celebration when he wrote a letter, the us, um, uh, the us government were trying to creatively problem solve how to, um, have a MIS a ballistic missile defense system in the us. This was kind of in the sixties, I think. Um, and they thought let’s get a science fiction writer along, which is an amazing idea because science fiction writers can come up who was a, a scientist as well. Yes. Who scientist an amazing scientist and would, would certainly add a lot to a session. Absolutely. Um, and he didn’t end up going to the brainstorming session, but he wrote a letter to them which talked about creativity. And in the letter, he talks about that. Firstly, the most important thing to do is to come up with your own ideas first, which is where this came from.

Speaker 4 (20:34):

And he just had this offhanded term in there where he just said in this celebration session, something, something, something. And I just stopped when I read that and I was like celebration session. And I’d been trying to think of a really good name for me, that combined cerebral. So coming up thinking and a celebration. Yeah. And as soon as I saw celebration, I was like, Isaac, as OVV you’ve done it again. <laugh> <laugh> so I can’t take credit for the word, but I can take credit for the process. It is a beautiful word. Isn’t it? It is a beautiful, it’s a wonderful word.

Speaker 2 (21:05):

So we need, so, so talk us through the process. What is it we’re talking here about the balloons.

Speaker 4 (21:09):

Are we? Yes. Yeah, yeah. I’ve been the party and the <inaudible>. Yeah. So, so in order to come up with ideas collectively, the moment, one of the tools that we have is brainstorming. Yep. Brainstorming invented the 1940s by a guy called Alex Osborn. Um, a very smart, amazing creative guy who started at agency called B, B, D O, which still exists to this day. And you know, sure. There’s some slightly sexist parts to what he, what he says. He says that brainstorm should be mostly men coming together, but this was the 1940s when he wrote this. So it needs, you could say

Speaker 2 (21:41):

That in those

Speaker 4 (21:42):

Days taken with a, it was like a synonym per person then wasn’t it <laugh> yeah. Yeah. It was, it was, you know, you have to read these things with the, the lens, through which they were written. Sure. But brainstorming therefore for 80 years has been the main way that we’ve come up with ideas as, as a group, particularly in work environments, there’s six main problems with it. I won’t go into all the problems hippos or one of them introverts is a big problem. When you do that group think is a problem focusing on the wrong problem, focus. There’s lots of things wrong with it, but probably the most important thing wrong with it is that we are living in a hybrid world now where, when Alex Osborn came up with this, everyone went into an office. Now we live in a

Speaker 2 (22:21):

World. No, no

Speaker 4 (22:21):

Preparation, no, no preparation needed. You can, yeah. You can walk into a room and you can turn off and do it think of ideas, but we’re now living in a world where some people are on zoom. Some people are at home, some people are in an office. There’s this kind of new way of thinking about, um, creativity. So I came up with a very simple, um, amalgamation of all different sorts of brainstorming techniques and it’s called celebration. And the very simple way of doing a celebration is there’s three parts. And I’ve tried to make this as memorable as possible. I tested this out on my husband as I was writing the book. So I wrote most of his book while he was in a camper van. And we’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about that later. We will, should have been fun times. It was, it was a very fun time.

Speaker 4 (23:02):

And as I came up with little, um, parts, I try to make things as mnemonic as possible because I think going into your heads, that’s why killer acronym is a mnemonic. Um, and the celebration system has three parts to it and they all relate to a party, a celebration. The first part is blowing up balloons. The second part is writing out cards and the third part is sharing the presence. And that’s the three parts you need to remember. Um, I go into more detail in the book, but blowing up balloons is investigating the problem that you’re trying to solve. And putting that into a balloon shape, writing out cards is spending time individually coming up with ideas yourself. So ride them onto post-it notes or pieces of paper. And then sharing presence is where you come together as a group and you start sharing the ideas and figuring out what they have in common. Um, and to really,

Speaker 3 (23:51):

That’s great. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (23:52):

It’s a really simple process. And, and it’s the end of brainstorming as we know it. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (23:56):

Well, I was, we’re very excited to that. The big part of what we do is move people beyond brainstorming to actually yeah. Help them understand what they’re trying to solve. Amazing. What’s an effective way to come up with ideas. So what’s an effective way to come up with solutions. Again, going, as you say, diverge, divergent, convergent, and I was too far away from the microphone. Um, and uh, actually the, the person who is most involved with delivering that services over there telling me off about the microphone. <laugh> <laugh>. Yes. But yeah. And so I was, I thought it was wonderful to that. Cuz you can see the difference in people can’t you when they they’re going through that process. And it’s so different to cuz like an hour long brainstorming session can seem like such a Drudge of an activity <laugh> ah, it really can, and you’ve caught it ation. It should be something that people look forward to. It should be fun.

Speaker 4 (24:49):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and exciting actually blow up actual balloons and put me in

Speaker 3 (24:53):

A room, let’s

Speaker 4 (24:54):

Make this fun. I have done, I did countless experiments in the lead up to this with businesses of all different size, trying to figure out what’s the best way of doing this. Mm. And then since the book has come out a couple of weeks ago, I’ve done a bunch of workshops with companies of different sizes. Yeah. Just teaching them the method. Yeah. Yeah. And there is nothing better than seeing a group of people all equally contributing to ID generation. Mm. So you get five to eight people together and the way that you, we share the presence, which is sharing the ideas is that you go around the room whoever’s birthday is coming up next. Yeah. Is the next person share the idea? Yeah. Keeping the celebration theme going. Yeah. And it’s amazing because you do this and all of a sudden you have, as I said, you’ve got someone in finance sitting there who normally would not participate. Who is there going, I’ve got this kind of crazy idea cuz their mind has gone off into this other place and then they have this idea. And then what we talk about in the book is the idea of plusing it, which is something that I stole from, um, Walt Disney. Hold on. Um, with the credit, with the credit Frank you off. Yes. Yes. Um, and it’s all about building on other people’s ideas to make, to make them better.

Speaker 3 (26:03):

Yeah. That’s really great. And you can, you’re getting so much more value out of all the people in the room that way. Right. Rather than just like a few people. Um, and you know, then leaving the other people who might not say much or contribute much is just, I think it makes so much sense for any organization to think about doing that. So, you know, taking that on because suddenly you look at all the people who are there and you think, oh my gosh, everyone, everyone has so much to contribute.

Speaker 4 (26:30):

So, and that’s how you build creative confidence. So to go back to one of the very first questions you asked Paul around, how do you know the belief that everyone is creative? You give them the confidence and tools to be able to come up with ideas. And Jenny from accounts comes to a celebration session. She’s listened to, she’s heard she has great ideas. They get built upon. Yeah. The next time she sits down for creative ideation session, she’s got the back of her head. Wow. I, I have space and ability to be able to come up with great ideas. Yes. That’s really important.

Speaker 2 (27:01):

So, so that’s again, I think how you kind of, um, dissect the amount of time that is spent on each of these stages is fascinating because you say, you know, you should be spending a third of your time understanding the problem just on your own, work it out. Yeah. What, what is the real problem here rather than what might be the superficial problem? The way that people explain it might not be the way it actually is. Yes. And then moving into individual ideas and then, then groups.

Speaker 4 (27:29):

Yeah. I’ve spent hundreds of hours, thousands of hours. I tried to calculate at one stage for the book about how, how long I’d spent in creative ideation sessions, big ones, small ones. And almost every single time you sit down and, and someone who’s running the meeting goes, okay, so we’re trying to solve world hunger. Who’s got some ideas. <laugh> John, what do you think over there? Jenny, you got some ideas and you just dive straight into it. So I did a pie chart. Yeah. Um, in the book, which was 95% of time group ideation. Yeah. 5% of time thinking about the problem. 5% of time coming out with individual ideas.

Speaker 3 (28:05):

Well, another thing I loved about the, the idea around the balloons and the celebration was breaking those big problems down into smaller ones. And, and, but then once people have contributed those eyes, bringing them back together around the large problem. Yeah. And yeah, that seems, it goes from, oh, here’s a small problem. Here’s some ideas. Those ideas seem good. And now we bring them back to the bigger problem. Now we’ve got like a ton of insight. Yeah. And, and it seems like a really powerful and exciting thing again, to be able to see.

Speaker 4 (28:36):

Yeah, it really is. And so, you know, I, I lay the gauntlet down to both, to both of you to run some celebration sessions and see how they go see, see the difference it makes. Definitely we’re

Speaker 2 (28:49):

We are

Speaker 3 (28:49):

Definitely gonna

Speaker 4 (28:50):

Do that. I will, I will hit you up for your feedback afterwards.

Speaker 2 (28:54):

Yes. Um, so next question is really around boredom, right? So again, I just love all of these individual ideas. I was think, God, it’s such a simple idea, but it’s so powerful. Tell us why boredom is such a positive thing.

Speaker 4 (29:09):

Boredom has a really bad rep. <laugh> people try and avoid it. People do go out of their way. Our entire media ecosystem is designed to avoid boredom. Yep. The entire content complex is all about, have you got five minute spare as you walking the dog? Listen to this podcast. Yeah. Have you got some time in the car? Listen to this radio show. Have you got time on a plane? Listen, watch this TV show. We are never allowed to get bored. Mm no. So boredom is almost an act of defiance <laugh> is how I

Speaker 3 (29:44):

Look at things. It takes a lot of discipline to be bored.

Speaker 4 (29:46):

It does

Speaker 3 (29:47):

Cause it’s so unusual to have quiet time where you have no input <laugh> yeah.

Speaker 4 (29:53):

You have to act, you act to. I think when we grow and I I’m 41, the world’s oldest live in millennial as I call myself many times probably on the last podcast. Um, and the last generation without screens to have a childhood. So I remember childhood was about being bored. It’s kind of what our parents did. We had Lego to do that and now not just children, but all of us, we feel our time whenever we can with content, with listening to things so that we can avoid our own thoughts. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (30:24):

It’s a constant distraction.

Speaker 4 (30:26):

Yeah. So, so being actively pursuing boredom is something that I think is really important and there’s really simple ways of doing it as well. The simplest way that I do it and try and incorporate it into my everyday life is whenever I walk my dog, I put my headphones in, turn my noise counts in on, and I don’t put anything in them. So I don’t know music, no podcast. I’ll go for a half hour walk. People think I’ve got things in. So they don’t stop me. If I’m at the dog park, then never have a

Speaker 3 (30:51):

Chance interruptions.

Speaker 4 (30:52):

And I’ll just sit there and be in my own thoughts for half an hour. And it’s hard. Like it’s, it’s, it’s a thing you have to consciously try and do. Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (31:00):

So what, what happens when you do that? What do, what do you see as being the, the benefit and the outcome of just being bored?

Speaker 4 (31:07):

It’s amazing. The connections that your mind starts to make. So I talk in the book around the best ideas, need time to sit and sit stands for space inputs and time. Yeah. That’s and that’s a simple one. Yep. Um, and so by being bored, you’re giving your mind the space that it needs to start making some neurological connections between whatever’s going on. And it’s amazing how much, how much creativity can come and kind of fill the void when you consciously take it away.

Speaker 3 (31:40):

Yeah. You gave yourself a huge span of boredom at one point. Didn’t you going away to an island? Camping. Yeah. And you had nothing but an a pen and a notebook.

Speaker 4 (31:51):

Yeah, yeah. For a couple of weeks it was notebooks, no music. Yeah. Just me by myself on a deserted island. Um, and a pen and a notebook. And I got so fricking bored <laugh> I cannot tell you, I had one book to read when I say I had no books. I had a medical book, like a oh first aid book. Oh, okay. And so I gave myself like 10 pages of to read each day just to something to freaking do. It was in case I like fell over and broke my leg or like yeah. A snake bit me or something like that. Um, and I was really, really fricking bored and it was hell the first week was hell, I kind of hated it. It was cold and wet and windy. And I was really bored. And I only had myself to blame <laugh> and thought, this is the worst thing in the world.

Speaker 4 (32:41):

You’re such an idiot. And then something flipped about halfway through. Um, I went around to one side of the island that was really protected from the wind. And in particular, the wind was like really loud, everywhere else, except on this one side of the island. And as soon as that noise stopped, like the whole thing just like flipped for me and just, it became this like beautiful experience. And I then started writing in my book. It was kinda like a bit like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I never quite got off the bottom ones. I didn’t get to self actualization <laugh> I was kind of like cold and hungry and tired and scared. But once I did get a bit, you know, solved some of those basic things, um, I wrote so much in my book and just like just explored my own mind for a couple.

Speaker 4 (33:25):

Yeah. It was pretty amazing. And you mentioned something happened to that book. Oh yeah. Did I mention that in the book? I didn’t say that’s a story all the time. Yeah. So that’s another time. Yeah. The, um, the, both, I had a camera, which I, in order to pass time on the island, I would do photo shoots, very mm-hmm <affirmative> early influencer. This was, you know, 15 years ago. Fantastic. But I would set up like a digital camera and do it, you know, 10, ten second. And I’d go one side of the island and jump in. They’ll do something like that. Yeah. So I took all these digital photos and I wrote in, I think I end up having about two books, like two huge, um, you know, notepads and I just wrote thoughts and doodles and all this kind of stuff. And I then went off the island and I went to a hotel, um, for about three or four days.

Speaker 4 (34:12):

And I spent that three or four days. I didn’t even tell anyone. I think I was off the island at the time. Cause I kind of wanted to stay in the bubble. Yeah. And I transcribed almost everything that was in the book into my computer. So just not everything, not like, so it wasn’t exhaust. It was like all these doodles, all these amazing things. And then I caught a flight home. It was from Queensland to Sydney, to the Wales and somewhere on that plane or on that journey home, I lost the digital camera and I lost the notebook and I have never, I’m not a, I’ve never lost my wallets. I’ve never lost a phone. Never lost keys. Wow. There was something, I don’t know my way of thinking about it instead of getting angry or annoyed or upset is that it was a universe’s way of telling me that my way of telling other people about this is writing about it and talking about it rather than showing them a photo of what it looked like.

Speaker 4 (35:02):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it’s a very strange thing. And I also, every about six months, um, you guys might know this being technical and of the, of the internet, every digital photo has a, like a, you can trace a digital photo by putting up on the internet to see if other digital photos from the same camera also on the internet. And about every six months, I will upload an old, like a photo that taken on the digital camera to a site that looks at every photo on the internet to see if another photo. Cause I’m hoping that maybe someone picked up the camera, maybe it turned has used it or done something like that. Yeah. Yeah. And nothing, nothing, nothing. It’s just gone completely into the how

Speaker 2 (35:42):

Extraordinary. Mm. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (35:45):

Well that, no, that’s amazing. But even that you lost the camera and the notebook, unfortunately it sounds like an amazing process as well to have gone through it was. Yeah. And, and do you think that kind of like changed your outlook? Was it like a, before the island, after the island?

Speaker 4 (36:00):

Um, it made

Speaker 2 (36:01):


Speaker 4 (36:02):

Realize it was one of those things that I’d always had a fantasy as a kid of wanting to go deliver it under Z island. And I think I’d watch too much like cast away and Robinson family cruso and read all these books about it. And I kind of just got to an age that I thought that I needed to start putting some of my dreams into action. So it kind of just inspired me to constantly not just think of things up here, figure out how can I actually do them, like write a book that was one of the things that I’d always wanted to do. Yeah. Beautiful,

Speaker 2 (36:31):

Great story. Um, so killer thinking is about thinking, but you mention, uh, how important it is to have killer execution as well. Tell us about why that is so important and what are the aspects of killer execution that you think are really important?

Speaker 4 (36:48):

I thought having a book that was only about killer ideas will be a bit of a waste, right? Because ideas are one part of it, but ideas can be worthless if they just stay in your mind. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. So I then originally had grand plans for it to be kind of half, half, half ideas, half execution. As I started writing the book, I realized that a book on execution could be 10,000 books. How do you bring something to life? Um, so I started to think that it was best to concentrate just on some key parts of that and the two key parts. And this is not the sole ways of executing idea, but two of the really important things that I I talk about in the book are to one launch something into a rising tide, which is thinking, what is the bigger moment or movement that you can launch an idea onto the back of? Mm. And the second one is about feedback and active listening to what people are saying to iterate the idea, to make it better. And that’s called listen with open ears, right? So they’re the two kind of like nods to execution then obviously not the only thing involved in bringing an idea to life. No, but the two of the really important ones,

Speaker 2 (37:50):

I think what, the other thing that struck me was this kind of iterative approach. Yeah. You talking a lot of the examples, how people started out doing one thing, which turned into this, which turned into that, I mean to Tinder, to Bumble, I think was one. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is, you know, you wouldn’t have imagined that to begin with, but, but it, through getting feedback from customers on what, what it is and understanding, oh, there’s a bigger opportunity here. I need to tweak this and tweak that. And eventually I’ll end up with a proposition that is a killer.

Speaker 4 (38:20):

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, that was, that was kind of part of the whole premise of the book is if you distill it down to a couple of words is how do you take a good idea? Turn it into a great idea, then massage it into a killer idea. Yeah. Yeah. And the iterations are one way of doing that. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (38:33):

I love that journey. Like you’re saying with, or with, um, the app, like going from starting off with the first version with match and then going to the next version and then to the next version. So like the idea and execution were kind of like, you know, being developed at the same time.

Speaker 4 (38:47):

Yeah. And what I love about that is that it’s kind of never ending. So if I wrote this book again in 10 years time, there’s probably gonna be the next iteration of what’s better than Bumble. Yeah. How do you take that and make it better? How do you do this in the metaverse? How do you do it? There’s, there’s probably ways of that, that idea of massaging and making an idea better is never ending. Sure. And that’s what I love about

Speaker 2 (39:11):

It. So, so, so what’s your dream for killer thinking from now onwards? Are you gonna be, you know, doing podcasts, doing workshops for customers, is there a community gonna be built around this thing? How development exactly Your own natural development,

Speaker 4 (39:29):

How am I gonna tell killer

Speaker 2 (39:30):

Killer thinking gonna become a killer

Speaker 4 (39:32):

<laugh> yes. And there’s no, there’s no pressure in this. Cause I wrote a book called status about how to build a, a strong community around a business. Yes. So no pressure, but to make a bus, a real strong community and now killer thinking, it needs to be some great ideas. So my aim with killer thinking is how do I get this into as many people’s heads as possible. Right. That that’s how I want great impact is by how do I get as many people as possible doing celebration sessions? Yes. Throwing out brainstorm. Yeah. And doing celebrations. Yes. How do I get as many people as possible using some of the frameworks to think about, are my ideas kind impactful, loved last and easy and repeatable. So that’s, that’s my aim. And so I do that through wonderful podcasts like this. Yes. I’ll do it through speaking gigs engagements. Um, that, that is the, the short to medium term goal of killer thinking.

Speaker 2 (40:20):

Great. And, and look, I mean, I think it’s gonna be a hugely successful book. No, I think as col status was as well. And I think, look, we can see ways that we could be applying this in our day to day

Speaker 3 (40:31):

Business. Yeah, absolutely. It’s such a clear and important message I think. And the thing is I think that a lot of these things are what people are reaching for or they’re looking for in, you know, the way that they run their businesses. Um, having such a clear expression of it with steps, um, is, is like, I think really helpful and beneficial. And of course we’ve got the audio book coming out.

Speaker 4 (40:54):

Yes. The audiobook is now out. Just came out last week. Oh yeah. Yeah. So the audiobook is available from audiobooks and audible and wherever you get your audiobook from, and it has my Dolce tones narrating it for six and a half hours in your ear. <laugh> <laugh>

Speaker 2 (41:09):

Who could refuse that?

Speaker 3 (41:10):

I mean, I know

Speaker 2 (41:11):

No. Um, Tim, thank you so much for coming in and seeing us. It’s great talking to you again. I really enjoy very best of luck with the, with the book. It’s gonna be a massive success. Um, definitely recommend it to anybody listening to this, this podcast and in the notes, we’ll put links to the various places it can be acquired. So thank you very much, indeed.

Speaker 4 (41:32):

Thank you

Speaker 1 (41:32):

For having me love day. Thank you. It’s been mine. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Please feel free to check us out on our website, digital for our past episodes. We’ll be back next month, but on the last Wednesday of every month, as we are with more great stories and guests see you then.

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