I just listened to a podcast featuring BCG’s Luc de Brabandere called “Taking a Creative Approach to Innovation” and I encourage you to listen and internalize his provocations as well. In the interim, I’m short on time since we have a leadership development facilitation with our Insights Coaches, Eric Kaufmann and Susan Curtin of Insights4Results, so here are the juicy tidbits that I highlighted from the podcast:
- You must respect the rules. Even if you are a CEO, you don’t decide on the rules of the game. As Kafka once said, “In the fight between you and the world, back the world.” But most of us do the exact opposite—we bet on ourselves. The CEO has to remember the rules of the game and that the game starts in the world outside.
- On “outside the box” thinking, Part 1. Boxes are not “in the world,” they are not real—they are in the mind. A box is a mental model that helps you understand what’s around you. So boxes are in the mind.
- On “outside the box” thinking, Part 2. Even when you’re out of the box, you’re still nowhere. In the end, the real art of creativity is the art of crafting, designing, and building the next box. It means the way you’re going to use your next mental model to understand the world.
- Creativity begins with the “what”. The first step is to think about what—what is the next big thing?
- On successful brainstorming. A successful brainstorm is a meeting at which a new concept suddenly arises. Rather, a successful brainstorm is a meeting at which an existing concept suddenly makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.
- Traditional scenario-planning only works when you know what you don’t know. There are two types of uncertainty. Let’s take chess. When you play chess and you move the queen, you are in an uncertain position—you don’t know what the other player is going to do. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter so much. Why? Because you know exactly what you don’t know. This type of uncertainty is more or less covered by the classic strategy-consulting approach. My role is to push things further in order to cope with the second type of uncertainty, in which you suddenly realize that your opponent might not want to win–-he might want to finish the game as soon as possible in order to go home. Now you’re completely lost, because this is something you didn’t even know that you didn’t know.
- “Express Scenario Planning” is for when you don’t know what you don’t know. The scenario is produced at the highest level of the company in order to have a greater impact. Second, numbers don’t matter. This is the “black swan” concept. A black swan is an event that is completely unlikely to happen, like the Icelandic volcano—and which nobody predicted because it was impossible to even imagine—but whose impact is huge. In the world of black swans, numbers are not relevant. So let’s forget about numbers. Let’s build boxes on the basis of concepts and images. Again, the scenario is produced at the top, and there are no numbers. It’s a new product, but in the end it is still about boxes.
- Introducing “induction”. Thirty years ago, I believed that brainstorming was the key. Brainstorming is certainly an element of perception. But my job is even broader than perception—it’s induction. How do you develop hypotheses about the world?
- Design the new box. Ex: BIC. “The future of BIC is not writing. The future of BIC is disposable plastic products.”
- Creativity is about changing perception, and innovation is about changing reality. And truly successful change includes both. If you change only people’s perception, it’s a failure. If you develop a brand-new product, but nobody understands it, it’s a failure. You need both innovation and creativity.
More on our leadership development meeting tomorrow! Later peeps!