What do Thomas Edison, Chris Rock, and Jeff Bezos all have in common?
Answer: An understanding that the biggest ideas spring forth from a series of small discoveries, reworked to achieve a great result.
Based on extensive research, including over 200 interviews with successful creators and innovators, Sims demonstrates that the kind of linear problem-solving and fear of failure we were conditioned to embrace actively thwarts creativity. Whether it’s Steve Jobs or architect Frank Gerhy or the ‘brain-trust’ at Pixar, there is no complete plan or vision at the outset. Rather, through a process of trying and failing in incremental ways, they gain critical information as they go from one small, experimental step to the next — which eventually lead to extraordinary breakthroughs. These so-called “little bets” helped spark the ideas that led to companies like Twitter and blockbuster movies like the Toy Story franchise. We can learn to think and work like those we think of as geniuses — failing fast to learn quickly, trying imperfect ideas, focusing on finding problems rather than solving them, and practicing highly immersed observation—to turn our own little bets into big successes.
Based on the lessons learned from 125 of the world’s most-respected entrepreneurs and leaders profiled in TRUE NORTH: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, including Charles Schwab, Starbuck’s founder Howard Schultz, CEO of Palm Inc. Donna Dubinsky, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, Andrea Jung CEO of Avon Products, and Narayana Murthy of Infosys. Themes include: overcoming life crucibles and setbacks, clarifying personal values and motivations, developing effective support structures, using your life story to motivate and inspire others, approaches for staying grounded, and personal leadership development plans.
Little Bets + Black Sheep = This Revolution Will Be Improvised
The world is being disrupted by globalization and technology, and the traditional ways of doing things are increasingly ill-equipped to solve the problems. What will fill the gaps — in government, business, and culture? It all begins with little bets: small, affordable risks taken to discover problems, needs, and opportunities in order to find big bets. What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, and the story developers at Pixar films all have in common? They all rely upon a mindset of making small bets when doing something new, and they’re all also “black sheep” — willing to challenge conventional wisdom and be understood, often for long periods of time, in order to invent new approaches in their own lives and for society. The world needs a creative renaissance led by courageous BLK SHP, who get sh*t done and solve problems quickly and creatively. Are you a black sheep? This revolution will be improvised.