Thursday, 14 September 2017

Innovate like George Costanza: Do the opposite

In the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, there is an episode called the "The Opposite”. In this episode, George Costanza, who is a self-loathing, lazy, underachiever, moans to his friends Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes, that every decision that he has ever made has been wrong. His life is the exact opposite of what it should be. Jerry then tells George that if every instinct he has is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right. George then resolves to start doing the complete opposite of what he would do normally, and to his surprise and delight things start to go exceedingly well for him.

George’s decision to do the “opposite”, is similar to the Flip-Flop approach for envisioning and achieving innovation goals. Instead of just focusing on what might be the best or ideal process, product or service, invert this and ask yourself what be the worst process, product or service. Now reverse or flip-flop these terrible attributes so as to envision a great solution. Not only does this method help you brainstorm the attributes of ideal innovations, it can sometimes help to reveal that your existing processes, products and services, may be too much like the normal George Costanza.

In terms of applying to the Flip-Flop approach to organizational processes and practices, consider the example below:

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