Friday, February 25, 2011

Possibility Thinking

The first two ingredients in creating a vision were “imagination” and “worldview”.

The third one is “possibility thinking”.

This is about your willingness to move beyond the first acceptable idea, to generate multiple ideas from which you can select and combine. Many people feel uncomfortable and impatient with this process. They latch on to the first viable suggestion, however superficial and unoriginal, so that they can move straight to “implementation. However, implementing the wrong strategy can be a disaster.

Creating a unique strategy is not easy or quick. It requires the input of many and varied suggestions. Most will eventually be “redundant” and “surplus to requirements”, but they form an essential part of the process.

Much has been written about the importance of not shooting other people’s ideas down. Just as important is not shooting your own ideas down. Most ideas are never voiced at all. It takes time and space for a thought to develop to the point where it can be put forward as a suggestion. Mostly, we have “glimmers” which pass through our minds but never really form into an idea. Only if we let these glimmers grow can we exercise our originality and create a truly new strategy.

Recently I took part in a five-day Cabaret Summer School. During the week we were required to create an original mini-cabaret show of 10-15 minutes, consisting of three songs and some patter to connect them. At the end of the week all eleven of us performed our segments in a show held at a beautiful theatre, with professional sound, lighting and grand piano accompaniment. It was quite a challenge. At start of the week, most of us had no idea what our show would be about. The best piece of advice came on Day 1: “Most ideas get rejected before they have time to develop. Give your ideas time to grow”. This gave everyone permission to come up with novel ideas, and to experiment with all sorts of things without worrying too much about whether or not the material would eventually be used.

Obviously there are differences between the creative arts and the rest of the world. But any new strategy calls for possibility thinking. You don’t get competitive advantage by copying what your competitors have done. To create a new strategy, we need to overcome the natural tendency to self-edit, and allow the glimmers to grow.

Possibility thinking stops you getting stuck in precedent.

No comments:

Post a Comment