Day 5 – Free lateral thinking and creativity lesson
Lateral thinking powers the entrepreneurial spirit
Whether you consider yourself entrepreneur material or not, this lesson has important overtones for the innovation you apply to goals of importance in your life, your role in the workplace, and how you interact with others.
Most “experts” will tell you the same thing. There is a “best” way of doing things and that’s the way it should be done. They know this because they are the “experts”. So, what would happen if everybody left the things to be run by “experts”?
LET’S TRY THIS
Hitting a home run
Ten experts in the design and manufacture of baseball bats run ten different companies that manufacture the complete range of baseball bats. Each of the experts knows the best materials, the best shapes, the most exacting manufacturing methods, the most efficient distribution methods, what turns buyers on etc. Why are these companies doomed to substantially fail?
The answer is competition. The experts will produce a generic outcome that results in their businesses COMPETING.
But hang on, isn’t competition good?
Not this type of competition. In this case, the “experts” likely outcome is:
- Profits will be virtually impossible to achieve as consumers easily switch between manufacturers and are only drawn by price;
- Innovation is missing, so the game of baseball stagnates when compared to the innovation of the sporting equipment from other types of sport;
- Blinkered thinking.
Yes, just as your education and life experience worked against you in solving the “blinkered thinking” puzzle in Lesson One, so too does the expertise of the so-called experts.
In fact, the greater your expertise, the greater the opportunity for blinkered thinking.
Now, a new manufacturing company opens up but it hasn’t got any experts to help it get started. If you are an investor, this is the company you should be keeping an eye on and maybe putting a speculative investment in. While success is not guaranteed, what I can promise you is that this company CAN’T compete. It will be differentiated. It will more likely be innovative.
The new company starts making bats and as expected by the “experts”, they are inferior for the purpose they were designed for; in fact, they are outside the permissible specifications for the game. The experts all smugly ridicule their new competitor’s product, pointing out the inferior attributes and higher cost. At this point, you start to have doubts about your investment and our story could end here, and sometimes it does.
Still, there is always somebody who hates the status quo, and they will buy the “inferior” bats just to be different. Someone using one of the new company’s bat designs notices that it has an attribute that they like. It can’t hit as far as a normal bat, therefore making it more suitable for backyard use. You get the idea? Promote this.
Next, the bat becomes so popular for its use in backyards, the company decides to create a league that uses the “inferior” bats on smaller playing fields. The “experts” are no longer experts in baseball bats, they are merely experts in the major league baseball bats. The experts are still not able to make money while the manufacturer of the “inferior” bats has secured a patent on his design and new mini-league, has no competition, and can pretty much charge what he likes for the newly innovated specified mini-league bats. Your investment is looking good.
Do you keep your investment in this new manufacturing company? That will depend on how things evolve. Let me continue with our example.
The new baseball bat manufacturer is quickly gaining expertise in all facets of the game of baseball. His patents are running out in a few years. What should he do?
- He should employ “experts” under him to bring down his manufacturing costs and increase his marketing and manufacturing potential across every facet of the game. This way he is leveraging his comparative advantage in the marketplace;
- He should try to maintain his innovative approach to opening opportunities through lateral thinking to break the ever-strengthening shackles of his growing expertise;
- If he is unable to break the shackles of his new expertise and the company is not innovating as it should, he should sack himself and employ someone with passion, broad business experience, but NO experience in baseball to run the company. The founder of the company NOW has blinkered thinking and if it is to succeed, it needs fresh new innovation.
How often do we see new startup companies rocket to fame, fortune, and market dominance only to find themselves in the scrap heap down the track?
Kodak comes to mind, the “experts” in film technology. They didn’t see the digital age coming until their horse and carriage was finally banned from the roads. It was a company run by “experts”.
Kodak seemed dead in the water for some time. However, all of a sudden their fortunes turned around recently with their announcement that they’ve entered the field of cryptocurrencies. What would Kodak know about that subject that is to their advantage? Absolutely nothing. Which is why I put a small speculative investment in them.
To the management at Kodak I would say “well done, but don’t stop”. Why not use a random starting point to choose some new direction for the company. If you do, I’ll be increasing my investment.
Lateral thinking advice for the entrepreneurial spirit . . .
Below is a quote of mine, advice really, that I often share but it is seldom understood. You’ve taken the initiative to come this far with your lessons. I’m hoping that you appreciate the sentiment:
“Never be an expert! Never be the best! Never be really good at anything. If you are . . . STOP! You’ll not likely substantially succeed there. Try to be briefed and experienced in as wide a range of experiences and skills as possible. Get sufficient knowledge and experience only up to a point that you are able to recognize talent, then move up, or onto something new.
When you find that special something that you’re incredibly passionate about, leap forward without fear or hesitation. Trust in your own instincts, ignore and defy the experts. Strike boldly with absolute faith. Gather talent and the experts under you, but it’s you who must determine your business strategy and steer your course, never the experts.
As soon as you begin to feel that you’re becoming an expert in the field of your passion, if your ability to innovate and differentiate is diminishing, it’s time to MOVE ON! Don’t make the mistake of ending up being merely a cog in the machinery of your own creation.”
Michael Muxworthy – Author of the Caesar Rising series
Lateral Thinking Investigations . . . of the Third Kind
Lateral Thinking Lesson 5 – Summary
Never be afraid to tackle something you know little or nothing about. Often, your lack of knowledge or expertise is an advantage, not a disadvantage. Don’t take “expert” opinion as necessarily the best advice. It is only “currently” the best advice.
When dealing with others, whether they be people that work for you, work near you, or simply someone you interact with . . . a lack of “expertise” is often an advantage that will result in innovation and fresh creative thinking.
That’s enough for today.
CREATING NEURAL PATHWAYS
Please make sure you always enthusiastically talk to others about what you learn here so that your skills are reinforced and easily called upon for everyday needs and occurrences. The more confident you are in your understanding and use of lateral thinking and creativity, the more aware you are of the opportunities all around you, the more successful you will be, the more you will become a magnet of success for those around you.
Try to imagine yourself as someone whose creative and original views are valued amongst friends, family, and colleagues. Stay with the program, I promise you will become that person. Practice, use, interact and teach others. Relate your experiences in the comment section below.
YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY PROGRESS
You should be confident to discuss the four following subjects:
- Our education and life experiences can often lead to a “blinkered” viewpoint;
- Random starting points (or random entry points) are a lateral thinking tool (or skill) that can be easily learned and used to break the shackles of our blinkered thinking;
- Creative thinking is merely the combining of two or more ideas that you haven’t combined/considered previously;
- Considering the viewpoints or perspectives of others is an effective tool for lateral thinking; and
- Don’t be afraid to defy the experts. Experts are merely the “current experts” and are almost always merely cogs in the machinery of their own expertise.
FEEDBACK AND SUPPORT
Please use your social media to promote these lessons. I appreciate all support, no matter how small.
See you tomorrow.
THE CAESAR RISING SERIES
Roswell’s Final Witness is the first novel of the Caesar Rising opening trilogy. Lateral thinking is intrinsic to the discovery process used throughout the Caesar Rising series of novels.
The truly entrepreneurial spirit will always embrace creativity and lateral thinking . . . they go hand in hand.
Michael Muxworthy – Author
Lateral Thinking Investigations . . . of the Third Kind
These free lateral thinking lessons are brought to you by Michael John Muxworthy