Connecting the dots and the kaleidoscoping art is a muscle I practice. I watch what appears on the canvas and wonder about the relationships between these seemingly unrelated data points.
Connecting the dots, deciphering themes and applying these themes to your work is a critical component in developing your strategic innovation.
On July 4th I noted an unusual occurrence. For many days prior to July 4th, the top item on Google news, NPR news and PBS was in one of three categories:
- Political, geopolitical or war related,
- Economic, stock market or financial,
- Accidents or disasters related.
But on July 4th the top news was about the god particle. Scientists believe they found the long-elusive Higgs Boson particle that could explain why particles have mass, and therefore, why stars, planets, you, me, and other objects in the universe exist at all.
The second item on the news was the LIBOR investigation, discussing how Barclays, and probably other banks, manipulated the benchmark for interest rates on trillions of dollars of loans to individuals and businesses around the world.
Each of these items is fascinating for different reasons but my practice in the kaleidoscoping art is asking: what’s the connection? Are these seemingly unrelated news items, seeing that they happened to converge on the same day, potentially related at a meta-thematic level?
It occurred to me that both, one in the realm of physics and the universe, the other in the realm of global finance, represent a transition from what was concealed to what is now revealed.
The next step is to ask: where else do I see the pattern of “from concealment to revelation?” And there are off course many more examples…
As I connect more dots to recognize the pattern, new explorations join the inquiry:
- How would this pattern play out in other fields?
- What else is this pattern, if it plays out in full, likely to influence?
- Where are the opportunities?
- Who will be the losers and the winners?
- In what ways will this influence my work and my clients?
And more… this is the type of inquiry you engage as you explore strategic innovation.
Connecting the dots is a critical discipline at an even simpler and more pragmatic level. If you lead a department or organization, most of the challenges you deal with today are byproducts and secondary results of decisions made by other people, in other departments and organizations two weeks, two months, or two years ago. Big part of the most vital work is to connect the dots, see threats, identify opportunities and make wise decisions.
That’s what I enjoy about the consulting and coaching work. I get to work with smart people on these great challenges.
© Aviv Shahar
Aviv Shahar :: Jul.06.2012 ::
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