Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Thinking outside the box, version 0.1

Entrepreneurs by definition need to spend a lot of time "thinking outside the box", but it's not so simple and sometimes we can't even be sure what the box is, let alone whether we're really outside of it, or even whether it matters much at the time. This is a topic that deserves a lot of attention, hence the "version 0.1" in the title of this post. Expect many revisions.

I ran across a web page by a Dr. Will Barratt with an article entitled "The Box Paradox!". I'm not prepared to give it a summary that does it justice, but I'd simply note two points among those it makes:
  1. Successful businesses are run by people who are good at incremental change.
  2. Innovators need to learn to speak incremental.
Yes, we innovators do need to think way outside the box, but we also need to tie those far-out paradigm shifts to current business problems in a way that we can implement them in the here and now.

Not everyone has the right personality to think outside of their box. The key is to have enough innovators around to deliver "a jolt of innovation" when it's needed most, but to have some stability as well to capitalize on those disruptive, innovative jolts.

-- Jack Krupansky


At 2:16 PM EDT , Blogger Will Barratt said...

Don't forget that the incremental change people also need to learn how to listen to innovation.

At 5:21 PM EDT , Anonymous Jack Krupansky said...

Good point, but alas I suspect that most "incremental change people" are strictly tone deaf when it comes to "listening" to hard-core innovation. The best one can usually hope for is for them to be "receptive" (as in force-feeding).

I wrote the post long before I contemplated accepting a position at Microsoft (I start on Monday), so my own views on innovation, stability, and incremental change are likely to evolve dramaticaly over the coming year or two or three.

-- Jack Krupansky


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