I have some bad news for you. Last night, your business was completely destroyed. In fact, it’s worse than that. Your whole industry has been wiped out.

So, what are you going to do? How would you rebuild your market and organisation?

If your mind is blank, you are not alone. Russell Ackoff, the management thinker and father of Idealised Redesign (which is the creative technique I’m using), argued that too many organisations spend too much time and effort improving things that simply shouldn’t exist.

We’re happier focusing on the individual parts of a system, rather than tackling the system as a whole. As a result, we don’t have a clear view or blueprint of the ‘ideal’ solution.

As Ackoff put it, “If you don’t know what you would do when you can do whatever you want, then how can you possibly know what to do when you can’t do whatever you want?

Over 60 years ago, Ackoff used this technique with managers at Bell Labs in the US. As participants in the exercise thought through their perfect system, they came up with new ideas including touch-tone dials, voice mail, speed dialling and conference calls.

What new ideas and solutions could you develop if you considered how you would respond to the overnight destruction of your business?

Off The Record: (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon

But when I see you darling

It’s like we both are falling in love again

It’ll be just like starting over

Starting over

© Stuart Cross 2021. All rights reserved.