Friday, November 1, 2013

Shooting Around the Corner in Trenches

During the Second World War, the krummlauf rifle was developed by Germany as a weapon a soldier could use to shoot around a corner without exposing themselves to danger.  The concept itself was brilliant...a curved barrel, and your enemy never knew what hit them.  The reason that I bring this bit of historica up is simple.  It is a lesson vitally important in business.


One of the tricks to creating an enduring company is to spot trends before your competitor does, but that’s easier said than done.

In the book “Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next,” author Cecily Sommers notes a number of key attributes that could make your company more innovative.

First, it helps if you can drop your assumptions and see the market without preconceived notions. If you can successfully lose any personal agenda or a “we’ve always done it that way” mentality, you will be freer to recognize emerging opportunities.

Be curious. Don’t get frustrated by things you don’t understand. View them as opportunities to grow.

Ask the right questions. The right order of questions, according to Sommers, is “why,” “what” and, finally, “how.” Spend enough time with each question before moving on to the next, but be comfortable with ambiguity too. Not having all the answers is part of the journey to the future.

And do all this in an atmosphere of collaboration and constructive criticism. Feeling judged kills inventive thinking.

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