Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Welcome to The Generative Thinking Era

The business world moves in cycles and I am wondering if we are entering a new era. With the US perhaps in a recession in seems to me that business leaders have pulled their horns in and are cutting back. Here we go again. Short term it makes the numbers look good. But where are the leaders with vision? The leaders that want to take a risk and invest in the future? Perhaps they no longer work in large businesses anymore.

This made me think. What is the next phase after innovation? Does anyone know? I would like to hear from anyone what they think the next era is? We have had customer centric, quality, six-sigma, or innovation. What is next? Are these all a fad or just passing ships in the night?

Perhaps we are entering a new age–one in which people have to learn to think better and faster. By this I mean generative not process thinking. The second type of thinking can be done better by computers. But the first, Generative Thinking (at Speed) is the way of the future. Any employee should be judged on what value they generate for a customer, supplier, partner, employee or shareholder.

But here is the rub. Most people do not know how to do generative thinking. Most managers love precedent; to follow what has been done before; to avoid mistakes. But this is the opposite of generating original insights and ideas. Thus most leaders are caught in a bind of their own making. Value is created more and more by generative thinking which is the very type of approach they are not comfortable with nor encourage.

Generative thinking creates exceptions rather than conformity, experiments rather than follows procedures and asks new uncomfortable questions and does all this at lightning speed.

This is an uncomfortable reality for most leaders. So if you are a generative person go and form your own business or at the very least, go and find a leader that appreciates you. You are entering the generative thinking era so don’t waste your talents on managers who have never generated a thing in their life.

Ken Hudson, Founder IdeaSpace

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