The Original Blog of the NISSAN Whistleblower 

Thoughts For Profit

Global Online Brainstorming!!!!

 &  the CQ Teams

For Profit !!! project          

Keys not needed to start this engine for success.
We just have to push the “right” buttons.

Starting in the fall CQ will Introduction large 1 hour workshops
An Introduction to Creative Thinking.

For those that want to continue to explore they’ll fill out an application and in November we’ll set up ½ day programs locally at major sites.   The key is finding inspired knowledgeable people who are willing to participate in a group and be “Open Minded”.

VERY IMPORTANT!!!   Not all people are capable of expressing their ideas’ for “fear” they will look stupid.   I get it!!!   We will not bother those people and respect that.

Yet, to be truly open minded you have to have “stupid” moments in your life….  I will share 2 of my top 10 dumbest “thoughts”…  I’m a little embarrassed but here it goes:

In 1998 in Amsterdam at the Hilton patio bar while enjoying unusually beautiful weather  I was asked if I liked the Netherlands by an HR executive my response  “can’t complain, every where I go they have my favorite German beer”.  He asked “what’s that” my answer Heineken…. OUCH!!!  

That led to a quite the “discussion” and soon I learned of all the business successes that originated in the Netherlands, You’d be amazed at how productive & proud that country is.  I enjoyed the 3 years i lived there and learned alot.   My only issue with the Netherlands was hearing the term “NOT POSSIBLE” over and over again….I used to tell people. I’m an American in my country EVERYTHING is POSSIBLE.

The next “thought” I’ll share was one that I sent to the Chairman of the Americas at NISSAN.   After seeing a picture of the LEAF  I wanted to see what “real” Americans thought.  I kept a picture of it in my purse along with that of the insight and Prius.   It was interesting hearing comments.  So last summer I targeted those in their 20’s and 30’s and when I said the name “LEAF” the reaction was not good.  When a guy in his early 20’s a gay democrat Vanderbilt grad said the name was “wimpy”… Ouch!!!  My thought….  It needs a new name and came up with one.  I tested the name out to the chosen younger than me demographic and both women and men LOVED it.  The word had an “I” so the thought appeared of dotting the “I” with a picture of a green Leaf to show that the car is environmental.    Hey.. on the Zero Emissions web site…let’s dot the “I” with a leaf when we use the word “environment”. 

Back to my story after an abundance of positive feedback I was confident the name I came up with would be MUCH better than the LEAF so I emailed Mr. Tavares. 

Scroll to see the name……







YES…  Alliance it’s truly embarrassing…..I Get It!!!!  

NISSAN I did not know it was a “bad” thought until I was talking to a man in his 50’s at the business center in my complex.   I asked him to check out the photo of the LEAF and before he saw the photo he said….  “The name doesn’t sound like a car I’d like” I then told him the IDEA of the name Alliance….  He said I think Renault made a car called that.   I immediately did a Google search…..OUCH!!!!

Lesson Learn… ALWAYS do a Google search before emailing a high caliber executive.    I’m sure that idea was (I hope???) a laugh and an immediate delete.    I’m sorry for wasting your time Mr. Tavares.   

Side “thought”

In October it hit me that I might get what I wanted and that was a job that I cared about, one that would let me use my skills.   Since then I’ve done a crash course on the auto industry…. OK maybe I need to use a  better word than “crash”….  I’ve learned it’s a complicated industry  (in many ways) it’s truly a logistical puzzle and my appreciation for each puzzle piece has magnified  during this journey for human decency.   My specialty is simply understanding people and finding out what motivates them and finding common bonds. When it comes to putting together cars… that’s a job for the experts.  

Let me say this about  my research..  The guy that makes the “ charts”  in Tokyo is my hero.   Sir, your chart on the structure of the Alliance is brilliant.   I get it!!!!  People that make charts are so important for they can communicate a structure or process.  I’m trying to learn how to make charts to describe a process I’m working on and it’s given me a true appreciation for what Nissan’s chart people do.  Kudo’s to the chart team.  Quick chart thought…   On the CSR chart  can we put a Globe in it representing Blue Citizenship since that’s the vehicle that’s our  communications link to the customer, employee, shareholder, communities, & partners.  Maybe that circle that says sustainable profitable growth can be a healthy planet earth.   Thanks!!!


NISSAN back to the point of this page…..Most people would hide their heads in the sand for coming up with something SO stupid.  For me the Alliance “thought” I expressed to Mr. Tavares made me cringe and then added to  my top 10 list of bad idea’s….. No time for  tears and I went back to the drawing board.  

NISSAN By showing the “BAD” ideas “thoughts” I hope it will inspire those to speak up and not worry about saying the wrong thing.   In successful brainstorming sessions you’ll see lots of bad ideas .  Yet, they might “trigger” a thought that could create the idea that succeeds.

People need to feel comfortable that their NOT being judged.

People need to know that tools to be creative & innovate (in whatever department they work in) are available.  Some will be interested and some won’t.   We just need to find those hidden gems that will lead to future process improvement, products, or making the workplace just a bit more enjoyable.  

That said:   All Idea’s are Welcome.  

The CQ team will collect them and we’ll identify the best most possible ideas to implement and put them on the password protective website for the decision makers (executives) to view at a time convenient for them.  They'll enjoy hearing what the workers are thinking.  The workers will inpire them to do their jobs better.  That means more profits and more NISSAN jobs created.  All part of the CSR philosopy 2010.  WOW!!! 

Bottom Line:  Truly the voices ideas of the “everyday” employee will be heard having the opportunity to express an idea that could become a “BLOCKBUSTER” is part of a corporate culture that lets people “Have the Freedom to Be & the Freedom to Succeed”.    . Even if they don’t participate they will have the option to and it was THEIR choice.  

This is a WIN~WIN.

For the record the name “LEAF” had grown on me.   As far as the looks I decided to use panoramic vision and looked at the car from a “different” angle and for its purpose Freedom, Peace and Independence ….it’s definitely the “package” and at a great price.  J J

Have A Great Day!!!                           Sharyn

Love Cars~Love People~Love the Planet






7 Brainstorming Rules & Techniques To Get More From Group Problem Solving By Lyndsay Swinton

We all know that a camel was a horse designed by a committee right?!! This perfectly demonstrates the unwritten law of business, where the output of a group does not equal the sum of the individual parts. Use these 7 brainstorming rules and techniques and be the exception to the rule, get more from group problem and keep the creative juices focused and flowing.


1. No idea too stupid

There is an ideal solution to your problem and brainstorming is the key to finding it. However, discussing, criticising or generally dismissing ideas as they come up reduces your chance of finding the secret treasure and render your brainstorming session useless.

2. Watch the clock

A little time pressure is good for brainstorming, so agree a maximum time for brainstorming, say 10 to 20 minutes, and stick to it. Start and finish on time, and encourage a brisk pace to maximise the time invested in this activity. Maybe assign a time-keeper to own this task.

3. Record your progress

All your good ideas are wasted hot air if they are not recorded methodically and more importantly, legibly. Consider using brainstorming software such as MindManager©, post-it notes, flip charts or other such methods for getting your ideas down. Whatever you choose, make sure you bring all the necessary tools and materials with you!

4. Quantity not quality

The aim of brainstorming is to churn out as many ideas as you have time for BEFORE you do any reality check on their merits. Through quantity you will find quality, even though it might take some time and effort to get there. Ideas breed ideas.

5. Use both sides of your brain

Most work activities use your left brain, so make your right brain do some work for a change and get more from brainstorming. Use coloured or scented pens, random props or anything that says “creative and fun” and not “stuffy and staid”.

6. Encourage the right mindset and have fun

Consider using an ice-breaker or creativity exercise to get group members into the right frame of mind and away from creativity blocking thoughts of unanswered emails, to-do lists and other priorities. And once brainstorming has started, remember performance anxiety will dry up creative juices quicker than a quick thing, so make sure the atmosphere is kept light and fluffy and above all, fun.

7. Let no good idea go unheard.

Not everyone enjoys brainstorming and group problem solving. Shyness, fear of looking stupid or silly may keep people quiet. Brush up on your facilitation skills and avoid the risk of great ideas being un-spoken or unheard.

Group problem solving can be effective, especially if you follow these 7 brainstorming rules and techniques. You can design a horse!


By Lyndsay Swinton 


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