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A BOXFUL OF IDEAS

PTA News Bureau

When Alan Iny, along with his co-author and senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Luc De Brabandere came out with Thinking in New Boxes it set a new benchmark in management decision-making. The old ways have to change amid the accelerating pace of change that demands creativity as essential for success.Alan-Iny-300

“In all industries, the lifespan of good ideas is getting shorter and shorter,” reminds Ivy in an interview to Polymers & Tyre Asia. “Volatility is increasing—the volatility of leadership positions in any given industry has doubled over the past 40 years. And leadership is less of a guarantee of success: The likelihood that a market share leader will also be a profitability leader has been cut by more than 50 per cent in the same time-frame. In the face of such constant change, creativity is ever more important as a driver of reinvention, opportunity and financial success.”

But for 50 years, especially in the business world, the primary approaches to “creativity” (“brainstorming” and “thinking outside the box”, for instance), have proven insufficient and impractical. The problem is becoming more severe, but the solution until now has been elusive.

Thinking in new boxes is a practical solution to the creativity challenge, and by addressing the thinking component of creativity (i.e., how we see the world), its implications become much more broad and powerful than simply coming up with new products and services, Iny said.

As the senior specialist for creativity and scenarios at the BCG, Iny has trained thousands of executives and BCG consultants on how to think creatively, and regularly runs a wide range of workshops across industries and around the world. He is a member of BCG’s strategy leadership team, advising companies worldwide in innovation, scenarios, transformation, organisation design and change management across industries.

Said Iny: “You can think of a “box” as a frame of reference, a mental model. Our brains are designed to use “boxes” to make sense of a chaotic world: Interpreting, classifying, categorising, making assumptions, and assigning labels to things.”

The key challenge with creativity is that we get comfortable in our mental boxes and stop questioning the assumptions that go along with those boxes, even while the world changes around us.

All ideas, even the best and most creative ones, will eventually come into conflict with the changing market, or a completely new external environment. And those old ideas will have to be replaced. But to simply say we need to get “outside the box” is not helpful – we need a clear and practical approach to find useful new ones, and that approach is what we have provided.

(Full Text in PTA Aug/Sep issue)

 

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