We must dare to think about ‘unthinkable things’ because when things become ‘unthinkable’, thinking stops and action becomes mindless. ~ J. William Fulbright
In this complex and rapidly changing world, it’s an imperative that you dare to think the unthinkable thoughts and explore all the options and possibilities that confront business; without it you lose. In order to perform better than other businesses you must think differently, and you must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of change. Managing in an uncertain world means spotting market trends, preferences, and potential threats and turning them into opportunities.
Business leaders must be the catalyst for new ideas, creators of innovative cultures, and the motivators for making the unthinkable a reality. In the article ‘Think the Unthinkable’ by Jane Simms writes: Business leaders must challenge institutional knowledge, traditions and explore unknown areas for innovation. She notes that people have become more arrogant and conceited as they acquire more knowledge and expertise.
Business leaders miss opportunities to innovate when they are comfortable with being reactionary, safe, and predictable thinkers. In our fast-changing world, when business certainties are no longer certain, the ability to imagine things as they never were, and ask: What if? This is an essential part of every executive’s skill set. Quote from George Bernard Shaw says; … see things as they are and ask: Why? Or, dream things as they never were and ask: What if?
In the book “Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business” by Luke Williams writes: Business leader must begin to look at their business– and the world around them– through a fresh lens, one that turns assumptions and conventions upside down. Business people are trained to focus only on problems– things that don’t work and need fixing. They live by the motto, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
Consumers are changing the way they buy, and businesses need to change the way they compete. Every business needs to rethink the habits that have made it successful in the past. There are three big stumbling blocks for an organization to overcome.
First, teams and individuals feel overwhelmed, directionless, and lack focus. In my experience, this is the direct result of relying on traditional brainstorming approaches.
Second, many organizations think of the world in terms of isolated products, services, and information. When, they should be thinking holistically of product-service-information hybrids. For example, the disruptive idea behind the iPhone is that it blends; such as, product (iPhone + iPhone OS), service (iTunes + App Store), and Internet (wireless providers, developers, social communities). In other words, the relationship between; product, service, and the information they provide is more important than the details of any one particular feature alone.
Third, most ideas never get articulated in anything other than through casual conversations: Stop talking about it, and explain it in sensory terms. Sketch it out! Ambiguity disappears when you describe ideas in visual or written form. Paul Romer defines ideas as; ‘the recipes we use to rearrange things to create more value and wealth.’
The goal for an organization, no matter what size or what industry, should be to generate a steady stream of new recipes… ideas that alter the trajectory of the business and reinvent the competitive dynamics of a segment, category, or industry.
In the article “Revolution in Business: Disruptive Thinking” by Luke Williams writes: Disruptive thinking is about making significant changes to the way you think about competition and business. The old adage, ‘differentiate or die’, has been a key mantra for business competition for a long time. It’s embedded in everyone’s psyche, and companies have been obsessed with trying to overcome the competition by making incremental changes to their existing offerings.
Disruptive thinking is not about how to spot a revolutionary change in technology or the marketplace. It’s about how to ‘be’ that disruptive change. How to ‘be’ the only one that does what you do. How to surprise the market with exciting and unexpected solutions. How to turn consumer expectations upside-down and take an industry into its next generation.…
In the article “Sustainability: Dare to Think of the Unthinkable” by Julie Urlaub writes: All change begins with an idea and an openness to explore the boundaries of the current world. We observe that those making the biggest strides are not necessarily the ones who have the greatest capacity, financial means or even the most resources. The ones who implement change are those who simply want to change, and are committed doing it.
Consider your current business plans for the future. Creating a sustainable business involves more than an innovative product and a creative marketing plan. Successful companies address long-term business sustainability with an overarching and continuous expanding mindset present in all aspects of the organization; more important, through the unthinkable thoughts that shape the very core of an organization…
According to Richard Bosworth writes: What If?– you could make your team think the unthinkable? It seems that a good proportion of CEOs have an elevated opinion of their own company’s level of creativity. According to a recent survey, when 1200 CEOs were asked to rank their company’s innovation; over 52% of them felt they were in the top ten per cent of their industry.
Traditionally, innovation is defined as changing and introducing new methods, ideas or products, however, in recent years it has come to mean more in the corporate environment; for example, now it’s leadership, vision, and the assumption that an increase in creativity will lead directly to above-average growth.
There is no doubt that CEOs would like to develop a stronger vision for their company, but innovation doesn’t just happen; it’s a strategy in its own right. The thinking of chief executives and business owners can be clouded by day-to-day challenges of running a business, particularly in the current economic climate. In order to plan and prioritize their innovation strategy, leaders must take a step back and think objectively.
Disengage from the nitty-gritty, push boundaries and challenge the whole team to think the unthinkable about all aspects of the business. Only then is there clarity of vision; if not, ‘the vision’ that will underpin the company’s future growth.
In the article “Think the Unthinkable” by Jane Simms writes: The inability to think boldly really matters. It confines us to the reactionary, reactive, safe and predictable, and it strengthens our biases and reinforces our prejudices. It blinds us to the alternatives, possibilities, and potential and, as such, it’s the enemy of innovation and creativity that are necessary for progress. In a climate of increasing volatility and accelerating change, we are snuggling deeper into our comfort zones on the grounds that all this stuff is too big and difficult to deal with that there’s really no point in trying.
To prepare and adapt businesses and countries for the future, we must grapple with the unknown, however difficult and unpalatable that might be. If we don’t, those strategies amount to wild guesses, figments of our imagination, and that really would be pointless. We have the capacity to think beyond best practice to ‘next practice’, but rarely use it because best practice is reassuring and give us a sense of control and certainty.
But it’s this very control and certainty that we need to ditch, if we are to make progress. Best practice, process, and policies are important anchors, but instead of letting them trammel our thinking we must challenge them and test ourselves. Because it’s the difficult, unexplored, even taboo, areas that offer the greatest opportunities for innovation.
In the book “What Matters Now” by Gary Hamel writes: We owe our existence to innovation. We owe our prosperity to innovation. We owe our happiness to innovation. We owe our future to innovation. Innovation isn’t a fad– it’s the real deal, the only deal. Our future, no less than our past, depends on innovation. Achieving continuous innovation, lies outside the performance envelope of today’s bureaucracy-infused management practices. It requires major changes in mind and heart, new values, new process, greater adaptability, infusion of passion in the workplace, and a new belief system or ideology.
Many experts agree with this thinking; that is, firms that are the masters of the future; are different. Hamel calls it ‘management 2.0’; John Hagel and John Seely Brown and Lang Davison call it ‘the power of pull’; Ranjay Gulati calls it ‘reorganizing for resilience’; and, Robert Pirsig calls it ‘radical management’. Whatever you want to call it, it’s certainly different from what is normally called ‘management’ in large organizations. The stakes are high and those firms that opt not to embrace innovation and change and think the unthinkable won’t survive…
Disruptive innovation is not just about following a process: It’s a mindset– a rebellious instinct to discard old business clichés and remake the market landscape. As Luke Williams says; it’s an eagerness to deliberately target situations where the competition is complacent and the customer has been consistently overlooked or under-served. Richard Branson captures the essence of disruptive thinking; he says, ‘one has to passionately believe it’s possible to change the industry, to turn it on its head, to make sure that it will never be the same again.’
The potential for reinvention is all around us and it’s an exciting time to be thinking about how to structure (or restructure) business, community, or life in ways that create new value. In the article “Impossible is Nothing” by M. Farouk Radwan writes: How many times have you been told that you can’t do something, because no one did it before? How many times have you told yourself that you can’t do something, because no one did it before? Even if no one did it before, does this mean that no one will do it in the future? Why can’t this one be you? Why don’t you be the first one to break the rule? Why don’t you challenge the false belief instead of helplessly accepting it?
The word impossible has different meaning for each one of us: What’s impossible for someone may not be impossible to you. To compete, business leaders need a revolution in thinking: a steady stream of disruptive strategies and unexpected solutions to stay ahead of the game; they must think the unthinkable… do the undoable… reach the unreachable…
Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself and see if we may not eff it, after all. ~Douglas Adams