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Berkonomics

Really do think outside the box.

Creative entrepreneurs find niches for their business that are not full of competitors fighting over the last dollar of margin, or niches that are mature and shrinking in size.  They search for areas unexplored, or those covered by companies with less of a vision for quality, service or innovation.

But even creative entrepreneurs are often trapped inside the box of their experience.  Recently in a discussion of this very subject in a roundtable of CEO’s, one CEO reminded us of the Titanic tragedy.  She stated that those in charge during the last hours aboard had options probably never considered that could have saved many more lives, given the limited number of life boats available.  She listed several, including pulling up the teak floorboards and throwing them overboard along with the deck chairs and dining tables, all to be used for floatation.  It made us all think that we had never considered such solutions when contemplating that disaster after the fact.

[Email readers, continue here…]  With that challenge, we turned as a group to discuss how CEO’s could make a culture of thinking outside of that restrictive box of experience.  We considered adding questions to the interview process that could bring surprising answers from a job candidate, pointing to a creative thinker that might complement the team.

We challenged ourselves as a group to think of answers to problems that a writer of fiction might create, unconstrained by conventional thinking.  We worried over the fact that we may have hired people in the past that fit our image of the proper addition to our core staffs, people with similar experiences and training, constrained by the same experiential thinking as ourselves.

And we left that meeting each more willing to search for talent to help us and our enterprise find creative alternatives that would challenge us, expand our product, marketing, sales and process abilities beyond the constraints of our present definition of our company and its core.

  • Julie-ann Pina

    This is an especially important topic just now. Our economy is picking up and our future depends on reaching out for new things rather than returning to old habits. However it seems that most people are still playing it safe, taking little risk.

    What feels safe, is often actually what is most familiar. It actually leaves us taking the risks we don’t notice. One idea generation method I admire is to list all the things we would NEVER do if all was well. Like tear apart the Titanic and throw the furniture into the ocean.

  • Michael O'Daniel

    Was the roundtable recorded / transcribed? Can we read it somewhere? Thanks.

  • This topic is certainly near and dear to my heart. Thank you for teeing up this discussion!

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