If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.
—General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff
Being relevant is more important than being best or being biggest. Counterintuitive to such managerial concepts as relative market share or operational excellence, it is not enough to have an efficient organization or to be the biggest or best within a traditional market segment. Instead, you need to continuously scan the horizon and shift course to stay relevant. In fact, being biggest or best may be a hindrance, because it impedes your ability and inclination to adapt quickly.
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
—Dr. Seuss, American author and illustrator (1904–91)
April Fools’ Day. What a great concept. The first of April is the one day every year when adults have full license to be impish and playful. The act of planning and executing a ruse helps to reconnect you with your inner child, so take advantage of it. The best April Fools’ pranks are not unkind or nasty, nor are they designed to mock but rather to challenge your perception of reality and the limits of conventionality.
The basis of the most successful strategies is not outcompeting rivals, but rather creating your own game, your own market space.
It may be hard to believe, but all of us were children once. As children, we all experienced the sense of elation and accomplishment from inventing our own games and making use of random props and terrain to choreograph a customized pastime that was a blast to play. There was virtually no limit to what we could play and where. What if we could reignite our childhood creativity and deconstruct our realm of acquired assumptions in the process? It would not only be disarmingly fun but deeply meaningful in guiding our strategic thinking.
As children our imagination knew no boundaries, but as we grew older our imagination was gradually reigned in and our thinking eventually settled within the accepted boundaries of conventionality.
It seems that our intellectual comfort zone has shifted from that of continuous exploration and inquisitiveness to that of conformity with accepted norms of adult perception. So in order to re-engage our childhood creativity not only do we need the right framework, but we must let go of self-limiting beliefs. A recent article summarizes four of the top misbeliefs affecting creativity today.
What happens when we begin to identify consumer ‘pain points’ that everyone takes for granted?
How many memorable experiences and interactions did you have on your last commercial flight? Chances are most of them were negative rather than positive. So why not use that to your advantage, by identifying customer pain points and turning them points of infatuation? At times, your customers themselves will tell you just how to do that.