The following article was first published in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. The author, Dr. Vannevar Bush discusses innovation and basically defines the internet. This is an excellent read which outlines the future about 50 years before it arrived.
The following is a lecture from the founder and President of Polaroid, Edwin Land. Land presented this in 1957 at MIT. The title was "The Idea of a University in an Age of Science". Edwin Land was one of the most important inventors and social advocates of the 20th century. This lecture demonstrates Land’s forethinking and his ability to envision a future beyond the status quo.
Developing creative ideas to build innovative solutions requires changing perspectives and looking at the world through different lenses. Edward deBono coined the term “lateral thinking” to describe a way of thinking which leads to a wide-range of insights for developing creative ideas. Lateral thinking is a great skill to acquire to ensure a holistic view of issues and foster innovation. It helps us answer the question, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Vertical thinking is how most of us see the world. It is typically a structured process which looks for a defined answer through sequential steps. Each step must be relevant to the previous to move forward. The focus is on finding the correct answer and typically avoids creativity and experimentation. Vertical thinking is about analysis and judging ideas.
Ants do it. Bees do it. Wolves do it. Even German U-boats in WWII did it. Swarming. Swarming is a great tactic to overwhelm competitors. The use of small units which simultaneously attack competitors from multiple directions is at the heart of swarming. There has been long history of swarming within various military campaigns. However, swarming can be a highly impactful sales and marketing strategy to dominate markets.
The stars of the “Mad Men” advertising era were David Ogilvy and Rosser Reeves (among others). Another advertising legend, though less well-known was Howard Luck Gossage. Gossage was the driving force behind the success of the advertising agency Weiner & Gossage (W&G) and he challenged the established norms and status quo of the advertising industry. Gossage was referred to as “The Socrates of San Francisco”.
Maneuver warfare works on the premise of using deception and ambiguity to disorient your opponent with surprise and shock. This methodology works very well for small forces competing against larger forces. The modern-day theorist, Col. John Boyd spearheaded this theory which was eventually adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps as the modern method for operations. Maneuver Warfare techniques can also be applied within business, especially for product launch planning.
Combined arms is a methodology used within the military to integrate different, multiple units/operations to synergistically work together to create a greater force to overwhelm an opponent. This same strategy can be very effective within a sales and marketing organization. The ability to link, leverage, and compliment multiple groups can have a positive effect on campaigns.
The use of metaphors, analogies, and similes are excellent ways to spark innovative thinking. Building a habit of thinking in terms of metaphors, similes, and analogies allows one to develop a new perspective. Seeing connections in a new light can result in creative solutions to problems. In addition, all three of these makes the brain work harder as it looks at the familiar in a new (often strange) light, or the strange in a familiar light.
Your team has been working for months on the new product rollout. Product photos and videos have been produced and launched. Media events are moving along and social media plans are engaging with consumers. Sales people are meeting with retailers to demonstrate the new product and educate staff. National advertisements are launched and hitting large regional markets. But something is not right.