|Intro. Strategy: How do you figure out what your goal is and what activities you will engage in to achieve it. Business schools. Can strategy be taught? As taught in business schools, not same as strategic thinking. Strategic analysis, using economics concepts and data to analyze customers and situation. Do not tell you "Here's what to do." Refer to it as a creative act. Do business leaders do it the way it is taught, analytical? All good, but doesn't tell you what to do after the analysis. Next: brainstorming. Weeks of analysis, but then decision is made on what to do in an hour and a half. Modern science has actually told us a lot about what creativity is, and it can be applied. Innovators and entrepreneurs do something different.
|Brain science. Roger Sperry, two sides of the brain, Dan Pink podcast, Whole New Mind. Left side is supposedly analytical and logical, right side is creative and intuitive. Too simplistic, modern science focuses on intelligent memory, putting things on the shelves of your brain and storing them. Parsing, breaking down. Thoughts happen when the pieces come together. Flash of insight, creative idea when pieces come from very different parts of the brain. Look into yourself. In defense of brainstorming, others may have things in their brains that aren't in my own. Maybe best way to put those brains together is not in a brainstorming meeting. When do you typically have your best ideas? Shower, driving in traffic, when you are relaxed, when you are not necessarily thinking about the subject. Sleep and neuroscience. No preconceptions, clearing your mind, Asian martial arts. Best way to do it is to go to sleep. Getting together for a meeting is very different. Best ideas may be on something else, off center.
|So maybe at 3:30 you should hang out and talk football or poetry instead of a brainstorming meeting? Retreats: can't do them every week. Reverse brainstorming: Boss says you will have your best ideas outside of work, and please remember them, write them down. Once a week at 3:30 on Wednesday we'll get together and talk about them. Time management, productivity, start your day with to-do list, keep big goals in mind, prioritize. Practical: If you have a thought, don't wait for meeting to talk about it with someone. Tell people that this is the plan. Creative stimulation, based on left-right brain. Have the courage to send people home early. Books on how to write, Stephen King, may work for one person but not everyone. Disparate jump-starting techniques, though, include wiping the slate clean, stand on street corner, listen to rock music, gaze out a window. This is the hardest step, freeing your mind. Multitasking enough is like doing nothing. Parenting: TV, computers, instead want variety that can later be linked together. Serial immersion.
|Military issues. Definition: Creativity is a new combination but the elements came before. Written about in early military strategy. The word "strategy" in fact entered the English language in 1810, at height of success of Napoleon Bonaparte. Formal study of strategy evolved to defeat him. Sun Tzu, Art of War, strategy certainly existed, but as a modern subject it began with Prussian Carl von Clausewitz, (1780-1831), On War, coined term coup d'oeuil, strike of the eye, glance, similar to modern neuroscience of intelligent memory applied to previous elements. He had lots of history of campaigns in his memory, and also had insights on how to think about them. Lee, Civil war: alternative leadership skill--delegation to underlings because the main leader can't have all the information that is available. Hayek, price system. Eisenhower and Patton. But Lee didn't delegate overall strategy. Levels of strategy. Napoleon understood that where you fought could give you an advantage. Grant and Sherman understood how mobile war worked.
|What have we learned today from Clausewitz's ideas? Sometimes you don't fight, you conform your actions to the force of circumstance as you find it. Opposite of simple view that you set a goal and keep fighting. Mobile war: goal evolves, and you only set it when you see how to achieve it. Same for business. Look for opportunity to exploit before setting goal. Is there anything great innovators do that the rest of us can learn? Innovators themselves learned it. Maybe 1/3 of entrepreneurs are dyslexic, famous for seeing the whole rather than the sum of the parts. General Electric team exercise discussed in book. Imitation in entrepreneurship. Doing something completely different gets you to the top. T. S. Elliot, "Immature poets imitate. Mature poets steal." Steve Jobs, selectively took graphical user interface (GUI), though much of the wealth from that insight got captured by Bill Gates.
|Schumpeter, difference between invention and innovation. Ray Kroc, milk shake machine, driving around the country selling, finds out that a customer is using eight at once, McDonald's, classic flash of insight: roadside fast food. Two previous elements, Howard Johnson's plus machine. Amar Bhide. Lots of wrong ideas, too, no guarantee of success. Google combined existing elements. Henry Ford's moving assembly line based on Oldsmobile's 1901 stationary assembly line combined with Chicago stockyards where carcasses were moved along overhead rails. Have to open your mind. Best practice in an industry may not be as good as the idea from some other industry. Any insights on how to change careers, how to parent, etc.? Consulting how-to books mostly tells you how to do strategic planning. You should instead prepare for opportunity and stay open to it. Have to start with an idea, but stay open to discover. Pure networking. Start with a puzzle that interests you, e.g., I would be interested in the xyz business, nutrition business in Mexico; then you find someone who knows something about that business and ask him one question about it. Who else can I talk to? What Color is My Parachute? says to find the one company, one person you want to work for, and ask that person for a job. Worst advice! Should cast as wide a net as possible. Graduate school choices. Jomeni (sp?), competitor to Clausewitz, strategic. Alternative to strategic vision is life as a cork, bobbing around purposelessly, end up with regret. Looking for something in between, canoe, have a paddle.