Being Unreasonable Might Just Be the Most Reasonable Strategy for Innovation

I just returned from being in London for a week — and I’m still buzzing from my experiences. I came back filled up and expanded. The catalyst for getting me over there was an invitation to join a curated group of world changing individuals called Unreasonable. The Unreasonable Group is a hand-selected global community of entrepreneurs, successful mentors and investors who come together to scale businesses that are profitably addressing and solving pressing challenges across a range of social impact categories. Here’s an article I just published based on my experiences and insights. Enjoy!

I also liked the “Think Different” campaign. Not at first, I must confess, because it seemed a bit egoistic when I first came across the images (such as Gandhi with the Apple logo sharing the same space). Over time, however, I began to appreciate the cleverness and beguiling simplicity of the message.

I find that many problems aren’t fully resolved until they are framed (or, re-framed) properly. People actually argue at cross purposes instead of appreciating their common goals until someone / something helps them to address the situation with a new narrative.

One example that comes to mind is when the issue of abortion came before the German courts. Apparently, they had a similar schism between ‘pro life’ and ‘pro choice’ which remained unresolved because neither side addressed the same issue. For example, ‘pro choice’ people are not anti-life, as it were, so positioning them as such is disingenuous and prevents any kind of resolution.

The court reframed the problem as a need to reduce the number of abortions which was something both parties could agree on. Given this new objective which shared a point of view they had in common, they were able to illuminate the various factors and reasons that lay behind the decision to have abortions in the first place, and ended up advocating for support and services for new mothers that included child care and financial assistance. The end result was less abortions overall, so it was considered a success.

I find it very helpful to start a Jam from first principles, questioning the premise and the assumptions of the team. We are finishing up a Brainstorm Jam at the moment (which I hope will be posted this week on Jamit) that enshrines this approach within the Jam itself. We start off with a goal and then spend a round questioning the goal itself.

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fully agreed - so many conflicts could be addressed (and resolved IMHO!) with intelligent re-framing that fosters a deeper understanding, fresh perspectives, and hopefully results in a greater likelihood of alignment between all parties.