Our brains play by the rules. They love to think that what they have seen before is what we are seeing today. They look for similarities from past experience and therefore assume that things haven't changed. By having views like that we are naturally blinkered to what could be fantastic opportunities and often miss the tell-tale signs that we can inject creativity to step-change the work we are doing.
We can overcome this blindness by becoming more mischievous. It's only the good people that follow the rules and only the lawful that are trapped by them. If you want to be a true creative you have to get naughty and be a bit of a bandit.
I was talking to a friend about a recent travel experience he had. He was visiting a country that operated very different traffic rules and regulations. When he first arrived there he was confronted by what he perceived as an amazingly anarchic, and potentially suicidal, attitude to driving. He noticed that he became very nervous and agitated because the rules that he was so used to were not being adhered to in that country. Once he had embraced these more exotic driving norms, he felt incredibly liberated and yet the only thing that had changed was his perception of what was right and wrong.
If when you're working you were to change your perception of what's right and wrong when it comes to thinking about the future, you'll be amazed how liberating it can also be. Get devilish when playing the business game and notice how easy it is to come up with very provocative ideas. Just think of companies like Spotify which completely challenged the norms of people having to physically 'own' music when it brought its new model to market in 2006. You can find many other examples of companies rebelling against the expected - San Francisco-born Airbnb rebelled against the hotel giants by allowing normal folk to be hoteliers when it launched its proposition in 2008.
What mini acts of mischief could create great results in your business? Ask yourself these questions:-
- Which ideas would absolutely cripple your company?
- How could you 'create a riot' by breaking all the rules in your company mission statements and corporate values in an entertaining way?
- If there is one thing that really knobs you off, what could you do to eradicate the annoyance for ever like a hit man takes out a mark?
- If you were to work from home for just one hour a day and try and get away with it what would you spend that hour doing?
None of these provocations are necessarily great ideas for you to try but, by jarring your thinking this way, you may realise that there are opportunities around you that you have never considered.
Get naughty and you'll soon notice how your thinking becomes free.