Monday, October 31, 2011

Entrepreneurs are lateral

Edward de Bono's writing on 'lateral thinking' was popular some years back, encouraging a creative approach to problem solving rather than simple logic. It's something I took to heart and have tried increasingly to practice.

But it seems to me that it's an approach that is of crucial importance to the entrepreneur. It's great to spend time with successful entrepreneurs and to share ideas because typically these people have a positive attitude and are willing to help. Talking through an idea often leads to others providing generous input, just for the sheer fun of it.

For example, I was describing our products to a successful business leader recently. We were thinking of taking things into a third industry sector and, with a background there, he helped to identify some problems and issues that we need to overcome in order to make it work. But then, quite unexpectedly, he suggested a completely different sector where we can make a difference ...

It was a perfect moment of lateral thinking creative genius; and it cost neither of us anything more than a few minutes and some mutual generosity of ideas. Too often, novice entrepreneurs and business leaders are scared to share, fearing that their ideas will be stolen by others. Occasionally that happens, and I've certainly had experience of being badly abused over the years by colleagues in business. But the risks of continuing to trust are worth taking - just occasionally they lead to a spectacular opportunity opening up, something that otherwise would be missed.
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