Random . . . External Stimulus Technique

Random Entry Points, or

Random Starting Points

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Lesson objective:

To introduce the first tool of disruption … and the easiest!

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Welcome to lesson TWO

EXERCISE 

Reductions on the roads

Task:

Devise an original idea to help reduce the road toll, carbon emissions, and average travel times all with ONE simple innovation.

Let’s generate our first RANDOM STARTING POINT.

Pick up any book, magazine, or newspaper and open it to any random page, then select a keyword from the second paragraph.

The word I found was magnet.

How could a magnet be used to achieve these objectives?

  • We could fit magnetic swipe cards underneath all vehicles to identify weight, speed, fuel efficiency, braking capacity, typical load, trailers etc.;
  • Traffic light intersections scan vehicles to determine the most fuel and time-efficient solutions;
  • Warning lights on your dash tell you if you’ll be required to stop and might warn other vehicles if you don’t demonstrate compliance.

Maybe we should update the technology and instead fit all cars with onboard computers that communicate with intersections as they approach to determine the optimum solution.

My final response: SMART INTERSECTIONS. 

(You’ll note that the outcome has nothing to do with magnets. The Random Starting Point was simply a way of pulling me away from preconceived thinking.)

YOU TRY THIS:

Apply the Random Starting Point you selected to the same problem.

How did you go? Practice will improve your outcomes.

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EXERCISE 

Sink or swim

A sailing boat hits a reef. The Captain is out cold. A hole in the hull about eight inches across is letting in water at an incredible rate that is too much for the bilge pump to handle . . . you’re sinking. What to do?

Let’s generate a RANDOM STARTING POINT.

I reach into my pocket, remove a coin, and toss the coin into the boat’s cabin. (Ha, ha, I actually did this as I sat writing this example from the back deck of my boat).

The coin landed on a discarded bedsheet” left on the floor.

Maybe I could use a sheet to put over the hole? NO!

Maybe I block the hole using the sheet in combination with something else? Possibly.

(I actually did this. I imagined the boat sinking … felt the urgency … worked through the process calmly)

I raced below to grab the sheet and I saw pillows. Taking two pillows, I wrapped and twisted them very tightly in the bedsheet which produced a spiraled length of the sheet culminating in a bulbous head.

Of course! (Ha, ha, I didn’t jump into the water. Realism only goes so far)

I “imagined” that I jumped into the water, fed the loose sheet through the hole, pushed the tightly wrapped pillows into the hole as best I could, then climbed aboard and pulled the spiraled sheet from inside until the water flow had abated sufficiently for the bilge pumps to handle the load. “IMAGINED!”

Is it the best solution? Possibly not. Probably not. (I actually have no idea).

Sometimes, at a time when we really DO need a solution and a fast solution, lateral thinking can smash through the panic and confusion.

Lateral thinking doesn’t guarantee the best solutions, but it does promise creative solutions regularly and reliably. Sometimes, it will give you superior solutions, and sometimes it will give you AWESOME solutions.

OK, YOU TRY THIS:

Generate a RANDOM STARTING POINT using a different (more urgent) method. For example, look around and use the first printed noun or verb you see.

Apply it to the problem of the hole in my yacht and see what you come up with.

TAKEAWAY:

Lateral thinking tools are used to disrupt the way we would normally approach something.

The disruption gives rise to fresh and original thinking.

Feeling confident to move on to the next lesson?

Move onto the next lesson (Or there is, an additional and powerful BUSINESS example below well worth doing):

What is creativity?

Lateral thinking creativity

 

The complexities of coffee

Business is terrible at your coffee shop to a point that you need to come up with some new ideas … FAST.

Let’s generate a RANDOM STARTING POINT.

I’m currently reading RED NOTICE by BILL BROWDER, so I open a random page (299) and I point to the word “store”, (“department store” actually) and I start my random thinking there.

You could do a joint promotion with a department store? Boring.

You could offer a discount to the staff at the local department stores? Boring.

You could become a department store?

HMMMMMMM!! You could think about some sort of business and income diversification just like a department store maybe. Still, you need more.

You could provide something that compliments what the department stores offer?

I GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!

I could offer lockers, or even cold room lockers while people enjoy a coffee and take a moment to relax before returning home. Shoppers could unload their burden securely, leaving them with me for a short while as they pick up a few last items or simply browse in a relaxed fashion. Spend $20 and get a free locker in or out of the cold room for 20 minutes.

Next, you create a business model (with space for many more lockers) that can be an international franchise success as shoppers spend more time shopping using the convenience of your coffee shop lockers all over the world. Rename your coffee shop to  “Unload and Unwind”.

If you don’t like my ideas, that’s fine, simply start again with new random inputs. Keep repeating the process until you find something you like. Even if you find a great idea early in the process, keep repeating the process anyway. You WILL succeed eventually if you practice these skills.

OK, YOU TRY THIS:

Choose any method you like to generate a random starting point. Appy it to YOUR failing coffee shop business. See what you can come up with.

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