Everyone is looking for a breakthrough. The massive shift in generation differences in consumer behavior and rapid technological shift are casuing many companies to fail…. and it will happen fast. Companies that are stuck in their old mental model cannot breakout for many reasons. It is usually a combination of all that causes them to be irrelevant. It includes leadership’s blind sight, organization legacies and lack of foresights and the list goes on and on…
How often companies can act swiftly and not taking a wait and see attitude? All the time. It takes strong leadership to take bold decisions even though they feel fear while making these decisions. Here are a few ideas, which I often make accessible to a my select clients. How do breakthroughs happen? It is not just luck or strategic thinking. Can they be engineered? Are there preconditions? Or is it a skill that we can develop and learned? When companies are stuck whether in an old paradigm of doing business or a legacy business design, they need breakthrough.
Exploring the “Grey” area. The central core of organizations contains beliefs that were built up over the years and a value system that provides us with perspectives of the world and forms the grayscale of our personality. Seeing the world in black and white is terribly dangerous. Sticking to your core does not mean you should not understand the ‘grey’ around it. Making explicit attempt to push the “grey” area of what consider your core.
Anticipate and Leverage Moments Most breakthroughs don’t happen through excessive rationalization or planning. In fact, almost all breakthroughs are sparked by “moments.” This is one of the things I teach people about looking for breakthroughs. The process of finding any breakthrough – whether in business, technology or design – often involve immersing oneself in large amounts of data and extensive debate and synthesizing information. Most people fail to see the moments when they happen or fail to capture them. I have a long list of things you can do to maximize it happening.
Expand Awareness through Emotions. There is so much myth about emotions; we often associate them with the extreme cases when we overreact or how they prevent us from making the right decision or making us too aggressive with the things that we want. These are all true, but emotions also have a positive side – if you know how to use them. Emotions are our inner sensors at work, sending us weak signals from the outside. It triggers our desire to heighten our senses as our whole and even affect our brains in memory, basically expanding the operating parameters of our cognition. It helps us take in more information, store them in a deeper place inside our mind, hold multiple ideas in mind at once, and layers a feeling over objects and situations.
Imagineering as Daily Ritual. Unless you’re in the business of creative production such as film, animation or video gaming, most likely you don’t have a need to use imagination in your daily work. But imagination is not a tool we can call up on demand; we need to practice it every day in order to maintain our ability to imagine. Imagination is a major part of how we frame and solve problems. The practice of applied imagination (or imagineering) can increase the number of creative options available for a specific problem that we’re trying to solve. Imagination is part of our subconscious way to assist with idea generation. You’re not so much thinking of specific ideas of how to solve a problem, but rapidly and randomly envisioning what might be, what could be, and what couldn’t be. It’s very easy to compare creativity and knowledge in an abstract, metaphorical sense – but we know that our imagination is developed from the knowledge we gain in the experiences of our daily lives and little encounters.
Practice Design of Meanings. Try to design a breakthrough project or pilot activity for yourself as experiment. Some breakthroughs are sparked by eureka moments based on insights – but far more are based on design. Design-driven innovation is spurred by thinking about possible breakthrough features, meanings and product languages that could emerge in the future. This cannot be done by talking to consumers or looking at current user behaviors. Consumers can’t really imagine radical futures, as they are anchored and invested in the current one; thus they are not helpful in anticipating possible radical changes in new product meanings. Big breakthroughs don’t necessarily come from disruptive applications or advanced functions; sometimes it’s new meanings that shift the universe. Think about how every one of the everyday objects that we see around our home can be transformed: instead of being simply functional, consider how to turn them into symbolic objects of irony, desire and affection.