Monday, December 7, 2009

Tim Hurson's Think Better was a decent read attempting to change the way I approach problem solving. His anecdotal stories where interesting. I particularly enjoyed the notion that simple twine around an elephant's leg will be enough to keep said elephant in place. The elephant was chained as a baby and is trained to think that the anklet demands they stay put--despite the fact they they could easily break the twine. Often times, people get caught in this elephant mentality. We accept a small set of circumstances to define our broader environment. This limits innovation, creativity, and the willingness to change to stay ahead of the curve. In business, an unwillingness to look in new directions and "break the twine" will likely spell the demise of the firm. The biggest problem is that most businesses are unwilling to recognize that they are bound by the twine. Other businesses recognize the twine, but are unwilling to break it and move in a new direction.

Hurson quickly moves towards what he describes as the Productive Thinking Model. The interesting thought here is that Hurson believes that one model can be adapted to fit every situation. I tend to agree with Roger Martin's Opposable Mind in that there is no way to model the world. But Hurson makes some valid overarching points. The stepwise structure delivered is:
What's Going on?
What's Success?
What's the Question?
Generate Answers
Forge the Solution
Align Resources

Most of these ideals have been preached consistently throughout the DST class. This gives Hurson credibility. But I am tired of "magic framework" proclamations. The highlight of the book were the quotes Hurson would reference before each chapter. I'll leave you with those and you can feel confident that you have a extracted the most value from the book.

"Creativity is not an escape from disciplined thinking. It is an escape with disciplined thinking." -- Jerry Hirschberg

"Discontent is the 1st step in the progress of a nation or a man." --Oscar Wilde

"We can see the past but not influence. We can influence the future but not see it." -- Stewart Brand

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