Friday, February 29

Weird ideas for professional services firms 

"A weird idea works because it trips discomfort. The idea is
to flip from autopilot to mindful creation. "
-- Robert Sutton

"I'm not happy unless I'm uncomfortable. "
-- Jay Chiat

The one thing that you can safely say about innovation, change, and new ideas in business is that they make people uncomfortable. They're threatening. They seem weird. They don't belong "here."

People who are in touch with their creative resources understand - and even welcome - this discomfort, as Jay Chiat does.

In Robert Sutton's book, Weird Ideas That Work, he explores the connections between "weird" ideas, innovation, and business success.

Here are some of his weird ideas on getting the right people on board to make innovation happen in order to move your business forward:

Weird Idea #1: Hire people with a special kind of stupidity or stubbornness - who avoid, ignore, or reject how things are "supposed to be done around here."

Weird Idea #1½: Hire people who make you uncomfortable - even those whom you dislike. Then take extra care to listen to their ideas.

Weird Idea #2: Hire people whom you (probably) don't need. Interview and occasionally hire interesting or strange people with skills you don't need at the moment - and might
never need.

Ask them how they can help you. You might be surprised.

Weird Idea #3: Use job interviews to get new ideas, not just to screen candidates.

Give job candidates problems that you can't solve.

Listen as much as you can. Talk as little as you can.

Weird Idea #4: Encourage people to ignore superiors and peers. Hire defiant outsiders.

Rather than teaching newcomers about company history or procedure, have the newcomers teach the old-timers how to think and act.

Encourage people to drive you crazy by doing what they think is right rather than what they are told.

Weird Idea #5: Find happy people, and let them fight. If you want innovation, you need upbeat people who know the right way to battle.

Avoid conflict during the earliest stages of the creative process, but encourage people to productively "fight" over ideas in the intermediate stages.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. "
-- Hunter S. Thompson

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