Challenge Your Beliefs
(Your survival depends on it)
When Elon Musk was 5 he thought there was something wrong with him, he couldn’t stop questioning everything, his mind as he put it was like a never-ending explosion of ideas. He thought he might be going crazy and feared his parents would send him away, it happened to other people so why couldn’t it happen to him? As he grew older this feeling never left him and he couldn’t understand why others didn’t see what was so obvious to him.
When asked how someone decides to fix LA traffic by building holes in the ground, his answer was simple, have you ever sat in LA traffic? I couldn’t understand why I was the only one trying to solve this problem, so I got a permit to dig a hole, there’s nothing wrong with digging a hole, people dig holes all the time and we had a hole dug in 48 hours and then we applied for another permit and it started from there.
It’s amazing to see how someone so visionary can take such a radical idea and make it seem so simple. It’s as if what seems so obvious to him today will seem so obvious to the rest of us in the future.
In MCCP, we believe to truly innovate you have to challenge orthodoxies or as we put it deeply held and widely accepted beliefs. We all too often just colour within the lines and limit our potential for new ideas and opportunities to emerge. Just think of the beliefs that were challenged for many of the breakthrough innovations we take for granted today:
Cars need drivers “Tesla”
Sleeping in a stranger's house is dangerous “Airbnb”
You have to go to a restaurant for high quality food “Deliveroo”
People would never accept rides off strangers “UBER”
An important question to ask yourself is in another 10 years what else will we be taking for granted?
One of our favourite exercises for breakthrough thinking in MCCP is to bring the right mix of people from our client organisations together and get them to answer the following questions?
What are the unquestionable beliefs about your industry, product or service?
What risks do these beliefs pose?
If we were to challenge them, what opportunities might we uncover?
Once we really dig deep and are open to this process, ideas that break out of our narrow confines begin to surface and teams start to imagine what might be. This gets us to the true starting point for innovation, one of ambition and inspiration, instead of uncertainty and caution.
FIND THE MISFITS
One of the most important parts of this process is getting the right team members together to challenge these deeply held beliefs. You need to find employees who are forward thinking, interested in change and well informed about trends in your industry and rout out those stuck in their ways and unable to imagine what might be.
In our experience every organisation has an abundance of these individuals. Individuals who challenge the way things are and constantly push for change. Much of the time these team members get dismissed as unruly and not great team players, which sometimes is the case, but often these are the people who intuitively ask themselves why things have to be this way, get frustrated that others do not see what is so obvious to them and can be the untapped levers for challenging those pernicious beliefs that keep us within our lanes hoping the road ahead is straight all the way.