2. WHAT IS ?
A library of over 280 books
A series of printed books
iphone and ipad apps
A fertile source of new ideas
5. A BEAUTIFUL CONSTRAINT
Morgan & Barden
• Get out of the victim stage (“We’re really inhibited here.”),
through the neutralising stage (“Our ambition is too
important to allow this constraint to inhibit it.”), to the
transformer stage (“Let’s use this to stimulate better
• Break path dependence: Most companies have a bundle
of premises, processes, assumptions and ways of thinking
that define “the way we do things round here.” This locked-
in path is predictable and often doesn’t work.
• Ask propelling questions: These crucially bind a bold
ambition to a significant constraint. They must be specific,
legitimate and authoritative.
• Can-If: Instead of listening to naysayers saying: “We can’t
because”, insist on problem solving language re-phrased as
“We can if…”
• Create abundance: We nearly always have more
resources available than we think.
6. UNCOMMON SENSE
Goddard & Eccles
Uncommon sense can provide
companies with the advantage
they need to rise above
7. UNCOMMON SENSE
Goddard & Eccles
• There is common nonsense behind much managerial
behaviour, particularly in tired and cynical assumptions that
underpin routines, rituals and discussions.
• Uncommon sense differentiates smart companies.
• Incompetence explains performance differences better than
• The important things happen at the periphery – on the edge
• Deutero-learning involves picking up helpful secondary habits
whilst mainly learning something else (Bateson).
• Too many forums rely on HIPPO (a Highly Paid Person’s
• Management models biased in favour of control at the
expense of learning tend to involve:
• Best practice – the recipe for formulaic sameness
• Operational excellence – ‘doorknob polishing’
• Competitive benchmarking – plagiarism run riot
• Balanced scorecards – the bureaucrat’s revenge
• Performance targets – insults for the conscientious
• Annual budgets – the pathology of under-ambition
9. THE ADVANTAGE
• Companies look to the same old stuff to gain competitive
advantage – marketing, strategy, and technology.
• The untapped goldmine they often fail to exploit is making sure
the business works properly –Organizational Health.
• The four components of this are:
1. Build a cohesive leadership team
2. Create clarity
3. Overcommunicate clarity (CEOs need to be Chief
4. Reinforce clarity (Start True Rumours)
• Building a decent team involves building trust, allowing and
mastering conflict, achieving commitment, embracing
accountability, and focusing on results.
• Six critical questions need answering to create clarity:
1. Why do we exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How will we succeed?
5. What is most important, right now?
6. Who must do what?
10. WE ARE ALL WEIRD
Weird is the new normal, so
only companies that work that
out have any chance of
11. WE ARE ALL WEIRD
• Mass allowed us to become efficient. This is the
undifferentiated majority that seeks to conform.
• Normal is the people in the middle. It is localised – normal
here is not necessarily normal somewhere else.
• Weird is what we call people who aren’t normal. This
means by choice, rather than unusual by nature or
• Rich refers to anyone who can make choices, who has
enough resources to do more than merely survive.
1. Creation is amplified. Anyone can produce pretty
much anything, and reach others immediately.
2. Being rich allows us to do what we want, and we
want to be weird. Standing out takes time, money and
confidence. More of us now have all three.
3. Marketing is far more efficient at reaching the
weird. The long tail is an accurate description of the
market for just about everything.
4. Tribes are better connected. You can now find others
who share your interests, so weird is becoming normal.
12. COPY COPY COPY
Copying is to be
cherished, and you can
do smarter marketing
by using other people’s
13. COPY COPY COPY
• Copying strategies really work.
• Constantly trying to come up with something original can be
futile. Look to successes elsewhere and copy them.
• Tight, ‘single white copying’ (named after the film Single White
Female) is no good for innovation because it just repeats
slavishly what’s been done before.
• Copying loosely works well and allows for error and variation.
• Good copying seeks to fix broken things, and is productive
when you look far away rather than close by.
• Informed + independent = considered choice
> Better strategy
• Uninformed + independent = guesswork
> Salience strategy
• Informed + social = copying experts
> Expertise strategy
• Uninformed + social = copying peers
> Popularity strategy
• The book contains 52 suggested strategies to try.
15. PAID ATTENTION
• How to package advertising ideas to attract the most
attention. Paid attention: how much is it worth?
• Media = bandwidth: people can only cope with so much at
• Communication is persuasion, but attention is like water.
• Brands are socially constructed ideas. Brand experiences
build brandgrams in our heads. All market research is wrong
because we don’t know why we do what we do, and the gulf
between claimed attitudes and intentions and actual
behaviour is vast.
• Customer service is a form of marketing. Technology is a
medium. But the medium isn’t the message any more.
• The difference between content, media and advertising is
• Do things and tell people: it’s a world of infinite content.
• Talent imitates and genius steals: a recombinant culture.
• People pay more for something they paid attention to.
• There can be only one strategy.
• Integration is the interoperation of parts, not one idea in many
17. BIG BANG DISRUPTION
Downes & Nunes
Compete on all fronts at the
same time, market to everyone
immediately, and constantly
recombine the efforts of low
cost experiments to create
18. BIG BANG DISRUPTION
Downes & Nunes
• It used to take years for new products to dethrone industry
leaders. Now any business can be instantly devastated by
something better and cheaper.
• Start-ups can unravel your strategy before you even begin
to grasp what’s happening.
• Big Bang Disruption happens when undisciplined
strategy, unconstrained growth and unencumbered
development all come together.
• Conventional wisdom suggests you focus on just one
discipline, and target a small group of early adopters.
• Big Bang Wisdom competes on all fronts at once.
• The old bell curve is now a shark’s fin: trial users and
1. The singularity – an early and long flat phase
punctuated by a few market experiments
2. The Big Bang – in which a new product or service
totally disrupts the old order, very fast
3. The Big Crunch – disruptor enters a mature state
4. Entropy – the last phase of a dying industry
19. HOW TO KILL A UNICORN
Innovation must build ideas at
the crossroads of creativity
and commerce, solving a big
customer problem and a big
business problem in one bold
20. HOW TO KILL A UNICORN
• The failure rates of most innovations are absurdly high,
culminating in ‘unicorns’ – visions that are lovely to think about,
but only doable & profitable in an imaginary world.
• What is needed is a Money and Magic approach, sometimes
called How and Wow - where the ideas people and the
commercial people work together from the off to solve both
customer and business problems in one move.
• What goes into an innovation process is always dozens of
initiatives competing for resources. By the midpoint, nearly all
solve a customer need. But they should only be implemented if
they also solve a business need.
• Don’t suspend commercial questions early in the process.
• This two-sided thinking (customer and company need) must
start from day one. The best results come at the crossroads of
the two requirements.
• Another crossroads comes at the intersection of near-term ROI,
low risk tolerance, big growth goals, and tight resource
constraints. Big doesn’t always mean risky, slow and expensive.
22. ONE + ONE EQUALS THREE
Identifying and investigating
areas we are not naturally
interested in massively
multiplies the amount of new
connections we can make, so 1
+ 1 = 3, not the usual 2.
23. ONE + ONE EQUALS THREE
1. Regret is worse than embarrassment
Try things and don’t worry about potential failure.
2. Choice architecture
Change the problem you can’t solve into one that you can.
3. The spirit of the law, not the letter of the law
Good ideas are first ignored, then considered dangerous, then
deemed to be obvious all along.
4. The message is the medium
It’s where and when you say something that matters.
5. Disaster is a gift
When everything goes wrong, you have to change the plan.
6. The value of ignorance
If you don’t know what can’t be done, you can think freely.
7. Question the question
Reinterpreting the brief is often solving the problem.
8. Belief trumps fact
Before you sell the answer, sell the need.
9. Creativity is messy
Sticking to apparent wisdom prevents creative thinking – rebels
and some chaos push boundaries more.
24. THINKING IN NEW BOXES
Brabandere & Iny
If you want to think in new
boxes, doubt everything, probe
the possible, diverge,
converge, and then re-evaluate
25. THINKING IN NEW BOXES
Brabandere & Iny
• Thinking ‘outside the box’ isn’t the answer. True ingenuity
needs structure, hard analysis, and bold brainstorming.
• That means thinking in new boxes. A box is a mental model –
a construction that exists purely within you, and which
dictates how you view the world.
• Inductive thinking involves moving from observed
fragmented details to a connected view, a binding principle,
hypothesis, or box.
• Deductive thinking involves applying such a framework to
observed details to see if the box has the capacity to interpret
them. Logic is the science of deduction.
• A Eureka moment is when you suddenly realise how to shift
• A Caramba moment is when you realise one or more of your
boxes (set of assumptions) are out of date.
• Re-examine your approach to business creativity:
1. Doubt everything. 2. Probe the possible.
3. Diverge. 4. Converge. 5. Re-
27. THE CHALLENGER SALE
Dixon & Adamson
The best sales people don’t
just build relationships with
customers - they challenge
28. THE CHALLENGER SALE
Dixon & Adamson
• Based on their study of 6,000 reps, the five types are the Hard
Worker, the Challenger, the Relationship Builder, the Lone
Wolf and the Reactive Problem Solver.
• Only the Challenger delivers consistently high performance,
with double the number of high performers in the study.
• Instead of leading with information about their company and its
solutions, Challengers provide customers with surprising
insights about how they can save or make money.
• They tailor their message to each customer, are assertive (not
aggressive), and push back to control the sale by:
1. Teaching for differentiation: delivering insight that
reframes the way customers think.
2. Tailoring for resonance: communicating sales messages
in the context of the customer.
3. Taking control of the sale: openly pursuing goals in a
direct, non-aggressive way to overcome risk aversion.
30. THE SILO EFFECT
The world does not function
effectively if it is always
streamlined, so businesses
should strive to prevent silos.
31. THE SILO EFFECT
• Putting everything in its place isn’t such a bright idea.
• Our need to classify, categorise and specialise can give
leaders a sense of confidence that all is well.
• But it can also create a structural fog, with the full picture
hidden from view.
• The word silo comes from the Greek siros meaning corn pit,
and the meaning then moved across to military missile silos,
then to systems or departments that work in isolation.
Synonyms include ghettos, buckets and tribes.
• Silos are rife in many institutions and have the power to
collapse companies and destabilise financial markets.
• They blind and confuse, often making companies act in risky
and damaging ways.
• 5 things can help prevent silos being detrimental:
1. Keep team boundaries flexible and fluid
2. Make pay and incentives holistic
3. Information flows really matter - share knowledge
4. Periodically try to reimagine taxonomies
5. Technology helps because it isn’t biased
34. THE SMALL BIG
Martin, Goldstein & Cialdini
• Persuasion science shows that, in today’s information
overloaded world, it’s often the smallest changes that can
have the biggest influence.
• The book contains over 50 deceptively simple suggestions
and explains the scientific research behind them.
• There’s nothing devious about these suggestions – they are
for anyone who wishes to change the behaviour of others
effectively, efficiently, and ethically.
• In many cases, the alterations cost nothing but can, for
example, save governments millions.
• The key to all of this are three simple yet powerful underlying
1. To make accurate decisions as efficiently as possible
2. To affiliate with and gain the approval of others
3. To see oneself in a positive light
• Small changes are additionally powerful because they ‘fly
under the radar.’
• They rarely raise suspicion or attention, and simply go quietly
about their business.
• This is the disciplined pursuit of less. By applying more
selective criteria to what is truly essential, we can regain
control of our choices.
• The core of the approach is less but better. Essentialists
devote their energy to one or two carefully selected tasks,
rather than dissipating it across far too many.
• In both cases the same amount of energy is exerted. “A
millimetre of progress in a million directions” v. “Significant
progress in what matters most.”
• Eliminate everything that has no bearing on the essential
• An essential intent needs to be both inspirational and
• In a reverse pilot, you test whether removing an initiative or
activity will have any negative consequences. Doing this
regularly reduces workload.
• Minimal viable progress is the smallest amount useful to
the essential task. Do no more than this.
• WIN stands for What’s Important Now. Just do this, and
• This is all about living more with less. We have all the stuff
we could ever need, but it isn’t making us happier. It’s
cluttering up our homes, it’s bad for the planet, and it
makes us feel stuffocated.
• A rising number of people are turning their backs on all-
you-can-get consumption: experientialists - sometimes
called hippies with calculators.
• “Meaning is the new money.”
• In the 1920s, the USA was producing far more than people
could ever consume, so they had a choice: to reduce
production, or increase consumption. They chose the latter
and embarked on a massive advertising drive combined
with cheaper production methods with built-in
• This was the origin of the Throwaway Culture.
• Many modern products however attempt to declutter
through remanufacturing – 50% of the components in a
mobile phone, for example, can be reused.
• GDP may be measuring the wrong thing. Just because it
goes up doesn’t mean we are better off.
40. HOW TO USE
• Be inquisitive
• Make the time
• Understand the lines of argument
• Take a view
• Inform your work
• Enjoy the debate
• Ask Kevin to speak or train
41. KEVIN DUNCAN
More detail at:
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