Producing Results Blog

Why You Need The Wacky Neighbor

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You've built a great team. But are you missing the "secret ingredient" that will help you to come up with the innovations the competition won't see coming?

If you're a video person, I lay it all out in the video below. If reading is more your thing, skip the video and hop straight to the transcript below!

Hey there, Bill Stainton here with Turning Creativity into Money™, and today I want to talk about the one person that you really need to have on your team that you may not have thought about.

My guess is on your team there's a missing ingredient that you may not even be aware of.

So who is it? Who's this mystery person? Who do you need to have on your team?

Well, you need to have the wacky neighbor.

Yeah, the wacky neighbor.

You know what I'm talking about. It's, it's the Norton on The Honeymooners, or Kramer on Seinfeld, or Jason on The Good Place, or some more current character on some more current TV show that I'm not currently watching because who's got that much time?

But you know what I'm talking about. The wacky neighbor, the person who comes in, who, like, bursts through the door and it's like, "Whoa, where did this come from? Where did this idea come from? Where did this person come from?"

And you need that person because, because that's the person who sees the world differently than you do. And differently than your team does. Right?

See your team has one thing in common. You all work in the same industry. You all work in the same team, which means that, almost by definition you kind of see the world the same way. Which is great. Look there's nothing wrong with that. You need to surround yourself with people who, who understand what it is that you do, who get your world, who get your industry, who understand that the unique challenges and the unique opportunities that you and only you and your team face. You need the people who understand that.

That said, if that's all you surround yourself with, then you're going to get the same kinds of answers, because you all see the world the same way.

You need the wacky neighbor.

And maybe this isn't a permanent part of your team. Maybe this is somebody you bring in. That's, that's why people bring me in, as a keynote speaker, or a workshop presenter, or however they choose to hire me. Because I'm not in their world. Because I've got different experiences, a different world view different, different life. I see that, I see the world differently, and I can bring that to their world and say, "Hey, have you thought about this?" And it might not be the right idea, but it might get them thinking a little bit differently.

That's the purpose of the wacky neighbor—to get you thinking a little bit differently about things. Because they see the world differently.

So if you are, if your team is nuclear physicists, if that's what you are you're, you're a little group of nuclear physicists. I don't even know, what would you call a group of...an atom, a, a molecule of, I, I don't know. Clearly, I don't know. Because I'm not in that world. I'm not a nuclear physicist. But, if nuclear physicists are facing a challenge, what would happen if they would bring a poet in, or a comedian, or a musician, or a cab driver. You know, somebody who will shake things up just a little bit.

Because what is innovation all about? At its core, innovation is about seeing things differently. Seeing things differently, seeing things that other people wouldn't see.

And if you're just in the same homogenous group, you're not likely to do that.

But all of a sudden you bring in some element that's a little different, that rocks the boat just a little bit, and all of a sudden you're forced out of your comfort zone, just a little bit. and you start to see things a little differently. You start to see things in a way that you would never have seen if that wacky neighbor hadn't come in and shaken things up just a little bit.

You need to have things shaken up if you're going to come up with something new, and something different, and something that the competition would never see coming.

So the next time you're with your team and you're trying to figure out the answer to a challenge, or the answer to an opportunity, bring in a wacky neighbor. Bring in somebody from a different department, bring in somebody from a different industry.

You never know what's going to happen. You never know which dot is going to be the million dollar dot. You never know which different ideas can be the one that shake things up, shakes things up just enough that now you've come up with something that nobody else would come up with.


You need a wacky neighbor.

I'm Bill Stainton—I'll see you next time when I help you Turn Creativity into Money™.
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About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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