09.01.2015

Stuck?

It is considered that being stuck is the most honourable state of mind. Usually we find ourselves in this state when our common sense-powered attempts to attack the problem at hand do not yield to a solution quickly enough. Then, analytical thinking gets involved. One would need to have a habit of analysing things. Just like any other skill it could be routinely obtained by a matter of doing exercises – kind of a fitness for the brain. Analysis principles are essentially simple: to specialise on particular details and to generalise the observations once an underlying pattern is detected. The word ‘analysis’ itself comes from Ancient Greek and roughly means ‘to unloose’ – that is, to relax the thinking process, to set it free. Free from any assumptions and judgements that might be tying up creative thinking.

Creativity is a value creation process that is characterised by openness to new experiences. To untie creativity means to exploit a positive risk of getting exposed to unexplored opportunities. This explains well the tendency to innovate. However, there might be a lot of uncertainty on this path. So, how to ensure that creativity indeed produces value and eliminates waste? Well, there needs to be a goal set in the first place. And a goal should not be considered a limiting factor, rather this is a waymark. It feels like the term ‘strategy’ fits even better for the concept of a goal here. Thus, introduction of a strategic framework could help with keeping creativity manageable. This way, creativity might be perceived as a business process.

Now it starts to be really interesting. A creative business process is supposed to be working smoothly, consistently and to a degree predictively. At the same time, its analytical nature predefines being in the most honourable state from time to time. Is there a conflict between the notion of a consistent, predictable process and the state of being stuck? Seemingly, yes; but in point of fact, no. To begin with, it is expected to be stuck after a failure, isn’t it? Next, this state serves as a transitioning activity towards the next loop of analysis. Take another angle to the issue in focus and think it over again! And how to protect this loop from the infinity? Simplification is one of the most powerful tools that allows representing a complex problem in a form easy to absorb. Having this approach aligned with the goal should guarantee the result at the end – the problem solved, value produced.

Analytical skill is typically attributed to a person. Therefore, corporate studies envisage the corporate analytical skill in its workforce. Does accumulation of this personal skill make up a business capability? Hmm… It does not sound like a routine question… Stuck.

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Ilya Belomutov

Lead Consultant