It's Time for Everyone to Align | Driving Eureka! #13


It's Time for Everyone to Align
On a Bigger Mission

The world could use some of founding father Benjamin Franklin’s ability to bring people together. The feature story tells of Franklin bringing peace between the colonies and Great Britain over the Stamp Act.   

The Driving Eureka! Book excerpt lays out a method for bringing divergent groups of people into alignment.

The Brain Brew Whiskey Academy is about the importance of alignment on mission when starting a distillery. The cocktail is appropriately the Dr. Franklin - a unique sensation that brings together the tastes of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, and Adams.

To go DEEPER on any of the articles - listen to the companion DRIVING EUREKA! Podcast.




We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.

In the course of human events - there will always be conflict between people, tribes, teams, departments, divisions, companies, and countries. 

 A classic example of this was the tension that grew between the American Colonies and Great Britain when to raise money to pay for troops, the colonies were assessed a Stamp Tax on all commerce. 

In his 60th year Dr. Ben Franklin represented Pennsylvania in London working to repeal the Stamp Act. To press his case he had the cartoon shown above created and printed on cards that he shared with those in power in London. Dr Franklin’s Son William Temple Franklin wrote in his book Memoirs of the Life & Writings of Benjamin Franklin that the cards featured an explanation and moral as follows: 


Great Britain is supposed to have been placed upon the globe; but the Colonies, (that is, her limbs,) being severed from her, she is seen lifting her eyes and mangled stumps to heaven; her shield, which she is unable to wield, lies useless by her side; her lance has pierced New England: the laurel branch has fallen from the hand of Pennsylvania: the English oak has lost its head, and stands a bare trunk, with a few withered branches; briars and thorns are on the ground beneath it; the British ships have brooms at their topmast heads, denoting their being on sale; and Britannia herself is seen sliding off the world, (no longer able to hold its balance).

The Moral.

History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy; it being a matter of no moment to the state, whether a subject grows rich and flourishing on the Thames or the Ohio, in Edinburgh or Dublin. These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed: whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, necessarily ensue, by which the whole state is weakened, and perhaps ruined for ever! 

Franklin was the most important witness at a House of Commons hearing. His testimony according to a Scottish journalist was the key to the repeal of the law. He gained agreement by appealing to the higher order mission. He spoke of the rights of Englishmen. He resolved the dispute by finding common ground as one nation united with a common mission. 

Clearly - be it Brexit, Walls with Mexico, Trade Fights or Religious Wars - there is need for Franklin’s wisdom today.

More relevant to readers is the need to assess this within the context of your sphere of influence. Within your family, community, team, department, or company.   

We must find a common mission that brings us together rather than separates us.  To do this we must find a mission that is bigger than our individual desires.  With this mission set we must come together in collaboration not compromise. This is accomplished by using our imagination to craft “win, win, win, win” solutions!

To learn more about how we to do this - read the next article in the newsletter!

NOTE:  At a young age I became a student of Dr. Franklin. It started because I shared the same January 17th birthdate. It grew because of his entrepreneurial focus, his love of inventing and writing. I read the papers of Benjamin Franklin for the year I am entering.  This year I’m reading volume 13 from 1766, the year he turned 60 as I do this week.

Interesting coincidence - this was the year he stepped down from the printing business, as his partnership with David Hall (no relation) came to an end. Franklin then reinvented himself over the next 24 years as an inventor, writer, ambassador, and founding father of the USA. By coincidence it’s also the year I stepped down as CEO of the Eureka! Ranch. And like Franklin am reinventing myself as an invention mentor to the Eureka! Ranch team, educator on college campuses with the Innovation Engineering Institute, author and yes Craft Whiskey Maker :).   Happy Birthday Ben!




Driving Eureka! Book Excerpt 

A System For Bringing Everyone Together in Alignment

The only way I know to find alignment when there are groups at war is to define a mission that is of greater importance than what the individual desires of all stakeholders. There needs to be a bigger vision - bigger cause - bigger purpose.  THEN there needs to be innovative ideas to make it reality such that everyone wins! 

Here’s an excerpt from my new book - Driving Eureka! On the BLUE CARD system that the Innovation Engineering community developed to drive alignment.

Strategy Activation - the Blue Card

When I asked the community of Innovation Engineering Black Belts on their private Collaboration Cafe online forum about their challenges with strategic focus, the outpouring was overwhelming. They spoke of working for months on an innovation, only to be told by management that the project was no longer a priority. They gave examples of getting stuck in mind-numbing rework loops between marketing, finance, and product development on the final design of an innovation.

This ignited dozens of “Plan, Do, Study, Act” experiments to create, develop, and validate what has come to be know as the Blue Card.

The most common dysfunction we observed was that instead of being a mission with a clear strategic direction and boundaries, the strategy statement was just a set of metrics. Strategy-by-numbers results in each division, department, and employee focusing on their number (individual or department Key Performance Indicators or metrics). Achieving their number is more important to them than the success of the organization. This is because leadership makes it clear to them, either overtly or subconsciously, that their number defines their bonus, their ability to get promoted, their ability to keep their job. The consequence is that collaboration is only pursued when it will help each group hit their numbers.

The polar opposite of strategy-by-numbers was strategy-by-grand-vision. In these cases leadership’s vision was so “big picture” that no one understood what it meant and what their role was in making the vision happen.

Setting strategy is deciding where to focus organizational resources so as to best achieve the aim of the organization.

Strategy is selecting where to go.
Strategy is about making decisions.
Strategy is about focus, focus, focus.
Strategy is set by leadership, as only leadership has the breadth of view across the overall organization. The employees can’t set the strategic direction—only leadership can.

When leadership sets a clear and focused strategy, the result is a force multiplier of effectiveness. Employees and leadership are aligned on what the Very Important strategic missions are, why they are very important, and what the boundaries are to the scope. Strategic clarity creates a shared sense of mission that invites collaboration. 

To develop the Blue Card, we ran lots of experiments and did lots of stimulus mining. During the process we soon learned that we were reinventing something that the military of the USA, Canada, and all NATO countries had already created.

A United States Marine explained it to me this way: “Years ago, the military was focused on instant, willing obedience to orders. Today we give the mission and explain why. When the troops know the mission and why it’s important, we leverage their skills and knowledge.”

Instant, willing obedience to orders is not fun. It’s slavery. It turns employees into zombies. It creates disengagement between employees and the work.

Today the military enables the troops to both think and do. They call it Commander’s Intent. 

Commander’s Intent: A clear and concise expression of the purpose of the operation and the desired end state that supports mission command, provides focus to the staff, and helps subordinate and supporting commanders act to achieve the commander’s desired result without further order, even when the operation does not unfold as planned.

To distill Commander’s Intent into a simple statement:

“In the absence of further orders you would know what to do.” 

To learn more about Blue Cards check out my book or listen to my brand new podcast.

Download Now


Applying the Driving Eureka! Systems and Tools to Create Craft Distillery Success


Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy:
The Power of Mission
When Starting up a Distillery

Mission is important for any cause - however it’s critical for the creation of a new company.  You need a cause greater than simply making money.  Money is the outcome of your cause.

With a distillery you can be focused on vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy - selling to bars, selling in liquor stores, running a tasting room / restaurant venue.   In the case of our Brain Brew Distillery we do Custom Whisk(e)y because as we say “Everyone Deserves Their Own Whiskey.”   Our mission is to enable every distillery, whiskey lover, brewery, bar, restaurant, etc. - to be able to craft and enjoy their personal whiskey.     

From this mission comes many wonderful outcomes

  • Craft Distillers can enjoy the speed to market of Vodka and Gin but with the pricing and prestige of whiskey.
  • Our mission focuses us on serving other distilleries versus building our brand.
  • Bars & Other Venues can provide customers a meaningful difference in their whiskey.  Just as was done pre prohibition when every venue had their own whiskey.
  • Whiskey lovers can commemorate events from weddings to the birth of a baby to new ventures with the creation of  a custom whiskey.

Appropriately, the cocktail this week celebrates Dr. Franklin.   In keeping with the theme of this week’s newsletter - the Dr. Franklin cocktail brings together the taste preferences of four founding fathers - who didn’t always get along (In particular Franklin and Adams).

Dr. Franklin Cocktail


2 oz Madeira Wine (In celebration of Franklin & Jefferson)
1 oz Hard Cider (In celebration of John Adams)
1 oz Noble Oak Rye (In celebration of Washington)

Step 1: Combine all 3 Ingredients over ice and stir.
Step 2: As you enjoy this heritage cocktail give a toast using the words of Ben Franklin:

There cannot be good living where there is no good drinking. I give you this hint as a man of the world.  Let us, then, with glass in hand, adore the wisdom of the ages - let us raise our glass and drink!”


The Driving Eureka! Podcast

Our goal is to help you, "find, filter and fast track BIG IDEAS."Driving_Eureka_podcast_image

Come and join us. We will teach how to build a business or innovate in an existing organization using the Driving Eureka! book and a whole series of education programs.


Doug Hall

The Driving Eureka! Newsletter is a compilation of case studies, new techniques, thought provoking insights, an occasional rant, and excerpts from my books 



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