How do I hire a virtual personal assistant (VPA)?

Well the process is very simple.
  1. You put a job posting on Upwork (this is the one I'm using)
  2. Screen applications (you'll usually get around 20-30 applicants within the first 36 hours)
  3. Interview promising applicants
  4. Hire the right one and assign first task
Very straightforward, right? Finding someone is very easy. But finding someone good is extremely difficult. If you find the wrong person, you'll end up redoing all his/her work losing valuable time AND money. It also comes with a huge frustration.

How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs

Group ideation processes, when well designed and well facilitated, are capable of generating a host of highly attractive creative options, and occasionally truly breakthrough solutions, to virtually any business challenge.
- Bryan Mattimore
Last November, a Japanese multinational company asked me whether I had any suggestions for a full day training session for its 4 Asian branches (China, South Korea, Taiwan, and India) during its annual Asia week. I had no hesitations: “Let’s do an ideation workshop!”
I had facilitated full day ideation workshops for a global motorcycle company’s Japanese dealerships last spring and helped them come up with three “kick-ass” ideas to improve customer experience. I was excited about conducting the same type of workshop, teaching creative-thinking tools and techniques to help participants come up with innovative yet practical ideas, with a more diverse group of participants in English.

3 Tips for Collaborating with Global Creative Talents

Have you ever collaborated with a creative person who is overseas, say a web designer in India, and the whole experience turned out to be a nightmare?
Working globally with creatives is challenging. Why? Because communicating with them is difficult. Creatives communicate and think differently than we business people do. And if you fail to connect with them and tap into their creativity, you’ll end up doing most of the work and producing a mediocre design/product. In today’s environment, the complexity multiplies since you will most likely be working with someone who is a non-native English speaker in a virtual setting (e.g. via Skype).

The answer is inside the company

Group ideation processes, when well designed and well facilitated, are capable of generating a host of highly attractive creative options, and occasionally truly breakthrough solutions, to virtually any business challenge.
-Bryan W. Mattimore
Have you ever hear of the word "Ideation Facilitator?" Ideation is a word derived from "Idea" and "Creation." The role of an ideation facilitator is to gather all stakeholders in one place and conduct a day or two workshop, facilitating a problem solving session coming up with new & innovative ideas to virtually almost any business challenge companies are facing today.
Recently, I read a book written by an ideation facilitation guru called the "Idea Stormers." I tell you, this book is just blew my mind!

Are you ready for global competition?

"Creativity as a topic at Davos (World Economic Forum) has moved from optional to +essential+."
John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design

Recently, I was invited to give a talk at a Croud Sourcing Summit here in Tokyo since I am one of very few users of oDesk, a global outsourcing site, in Japan. I wanted my audience to get a feel of what it's like to outsource jobs abroad so I decided to show a short 2 minute video at the end of my presentation. This blew the audience off. Here's the video I showed them (the shock is at around 47 seconds into the video).

How to differentiate yourself

This (book) is not a how-to. The reason I find how-tos discomfiting is that there is always the slim chance that people may actually take them on faith. What business-people need today is a fresh set of insights, not a fresh set of instructions.
–Youngme Moon
Last year I read more than 80 books in all genres. If asked what was the best one, I would no doubt answer “Different (by Youngme Moon)”.
I first heard this book through audiobook. While listening to this book, many new ideas came to mind so I had to basically stop the book many times to write down the ideas. After I finished listening to it, I found the book so inspiring that I listened to it again. Ideas kept flowing in so I decided to buy a copy of the book. This rarely happens…

Art & Communication

When you see in a special way in which experienced artists see, then you can draw.
--Betty Edwards

After getting an "F" in art at 8th grade, I've always avoided art. Getting an "F" was like told "you f*ck at 'art' and you should never even mention the term ever again!"
But what I experienced a couple of months ago totally blew me off. It changed my perceptions of the way I see art and the way now I see the world.
First, I would like you to see my picture of my "artistic" right hand I drew the other day. Yes, I can hear you! "What the hell? What's that mummy hand doing here? You really deserve an 'F'." But I tell you. A miracle happens the next day...
Before the "miracle," the quote above is from the book "Drawing from the right side of the brain" written by Betty Edwards.

Business Model Generation

"Whereas a conventional artist starts painting a canvas knowing what she wants to paint, and holds to her original intention until the work is finished, an original artist (with equal skills) holds a deeply but undefined goal in mind, keeps modifying the picture in response to the unexpected colors and shapes emerging on the canvas, and ends up with a finished work that probably will not resemble anything she started out with."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Two years ago, I was asked by another training company to facilitate a 2 hour workshop (this was done in Japanese), extracting new business ideas from its client (corporate) employees. At that time, I was asked to use Mindmap(R) as a tool and I think it went fairly well. But more than that, I found myself enjoying doing this. Ever since that day, I've been thinking of ways that I can stage an atmosphere where creative ideas just keep flowing in.

The worth of your own idea

"If I (or we) didn't invent it, then it's not worth much."
--Dan Ariely

I am currently reading this very interesting book called the upside of irrationality by Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University. His previous book, Predictably Irrational, one of my favorite books, gives many stories about how people act irrationally in certain situations and how smart corporations or individuals take advantage and makes money off of these irrational behaviors.
Some of the stories in this book really amazed me and I even made a couple of teaching materials out of them. The previous book focused on the more negative side of irrationality but this new book focuses on the positive side: knowing that we do react irrationally to certain situations, the way to use these positively.

One risk one day

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."
-Ken Robinson, TED Conference
Ever since I saw the video of Ken Robinson speaking at TED (I've embedded the video at the end of this blog article), I wondered myself "How I can be original?", "How can I be more creative."
Over the months I read over a dozen books anything related to creativity. I found the following three books particularly interesting: