Are all of your dots the same color?
I talk about dots a lot. That’s because dots are the key to innovation, creativity, and breakthrough thinking.
Most people get this wrong. They think that breakthrough ideas—the creative innovations that make the competition whimper like scared puppies—are the result of some divine lightning bolt that only strikes the gifted few. This is the common myth. But it’s just that—a myth.
The truth is that breakthrough ideas are virtually always the result of somebody—or a team of somebodies—connecting two or more dots that nobody has ever connected before.Breakthrough ideas are virtually always the result of somebody—or a team of somebodies—connecting two or more dots that nobody has ever connected before. #Leadership #ProducingResults Click To Tweet
What are these dots? Pretty much anything: people, experiences, other ideas. Let’s say, for example, that you’re Johannes Gutenberg in the year 1440 (give or take). You’re familiar with a device called a wine processor used for squeezing grapes. That’s one dot. You’ve also rubbed shoulders, figuratively speaking, with movable type, which was invented in South Korea (probably). That’s another dot. These two dots already existed in the universe. But it took Gutenberg to look at them and say, “Hey, maybe I could combine these, invent the printing press, and change the world!” (Those may not have been his exact words.)
The point is, the printing press did not spring to life out of nothing. It was not the lightning bolt from above. It was a guy connecting two dots that already existed, in a way that nobody else had ever done before. And it’s the same story (or a similar one) for virtually every great invention or breakthrough idea that went on to change the world.
But in order to connect those dots, Gutenberg had to first collect those dots.
In other words, he had to have encountered them somewhere. If he’d never come across a wine processor, that dot would not have been available to him.
So if you want to come up with breakthrough ideas in your world, you have to first become a dot collector. And the more dots you collect, the more connections you can make, which means the odds of one of those connections being the next million-dollar idea increase dramatically.
But—and stay with me on this dot metaphor—if all of your dots are the same color, all of your ideas (which, again, come from connecting dots) will be the same color. If all of your dots are navy blue, all of your ideas will be navy blue. Not exactly breakthrough. What this means is that if you only read similar things, only interact with similar people, only listen to similar points of view, you’re limiting your creativity.If you only read similar things, only interact with similar people, only listen to similar points of view, you’re limiting your #creativity. #connectthedots #producingresults Click To Tweet
See, the way to really turbocharge your creative thinking is to collect dots that are different colors, different sizes, different shapes. This means exposing yourself to all different kinds of people, experiences, and ideas. You may not agree with them all. Some may be outside of your comfort zone. But here’s the thing:
You never know which dot will lead to the breakthrough idea.
And wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out on inventing the printing press because the dot you needed was green, and you only collect blue dots?The way to really turbocharge your creative thinking is to collect dots that are different colors, different sizes, different shapes. #Creativity #ProducingResults Click To Tweet