December 2011 | Nano Tools | Strategy
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Paul Schoemaker, author of Brilliant Mistakes (Wharton Digital Press, 2011); Marketing Professor and Research Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Founder and Chairman of Decision Strategies International.
Discover breakthrough innovation, and accelerate organizational learning, by adopting a mindset and a process for deliberate mistake-making.
What if some of your most tried-and-true assumptions about the way you do business were wrong? What if, in fact, they were costing you market share, or preventing you from taking advantage of a new opportunity that could significantly increase your bottom line? Assumptions can be wrong for numerous reasons, ranging from changes in the world in which the assumptions were formed to lack of humility among those at the top. Testing assumptions — in effect, making deliberate mistakes — offers the possibility of more effective business practices, groundbreaking innovation, and even greater profits.
Brilliant mistakes have two prime ingredients. First, they require a significant challenge to the status quo. Second, that challenge allows for deep new insights to emerge whose benefits far exceed the cost of the original mistake. These deep insights, or accelerated learning, can be as important as the discovery of a breakthrough innovation.They can be “portals of discovery” that lead to even greater improvements in your future prospects. By purposefully making and learning from mistakes, you can realize significant benefits.
Making and learning from brilliant mistakes entails a disciplined process of deliberate mistake-making:
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. The Academic Director of Nano Tools is Professor of Management Adam Grant.
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