What if we did that?

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It’s the question that every business should be asking every day and thinking about all the time.

The two important bits are ‘what if’ and ‘that’.

Without the ‘that’ there can be no ‘what if’. And the ’that’ is the job of creative thinking. Creative thinking is the engine for ideas that will effect the business. The more open minded and creative you are, the more prepared you are to spend time thinking laterally, researching, borrowing and being inspired by stuff, the more ‘thats’ you will have. So the first and obvious point is that businesses need ideas people with lots of ideas.

Once you have the ‘that’ then you need the ‘what if’ and this requires a very different sort of thinking: analytical, evidence based, modelling thinking. What will the likely result be of implementing this idea. What are the risks, what is the likely return. What other effects might it have, what ripple of cause and effect will it create.

My observation would be that very few businesses are really good at both. But they need to be. Ideas businesses often fail to evaluate and make wasteful and time consuming mistakes. Analytical businesses often fail to innovate and risk stagnating.

Maybe every business needs to create two centres of excellence with two leaders: ‘Head of thats’ and ‘Head of what ifs.’ ?