Friday, May 13, 2011

Gather Revolutionary Ideas from Spirals

Where should you look for ideas on how to change your business in revolutionary ways? For the suggestions that go beyond incremental adjustments? For the sorts of fundamental modifications to your business model you might find necessary if a new Big Box competitor opens up down the street or if a major employer of your target customers closes down up the street?
     To answer questions like these, business professors at Dartmouth College and University of California-Riverside reviewed the existing research on personality theory and consumer information-processing. They found that the best sources of workable, productive, revolutionary notions had a distinctive thinking style: Ideas emerged from those people in a spiral-like fashion.
     These sources would start out with a general notion of what was to done. Then in successive cycles, they’d converge on the final plan by incorporating what others suggested and what was learned from trying out preliminary approaches. They could promptly converge on a great idea, but it didn’t come out in the final form all at once. In a way, the revolutionary was evolutionary.
     Here are characteristics of these spiral thinkers:
  • Show optimism and determination
  • Talk more about the future than about the past
  • Use a blend of words, drawings, and demonstrations to describe fully-formed ideas in ways that allow others to vividly and with excitement envision the outcome
  • Discuss implementation details in terms of how things will end up more than in terms of where we are now
  • Have no hesitation in spotting and then giving up on impractical details of their own ideas, although the basic thrust of their ideas tends to stay the same as what they began with
  • Have no shame in appropriating the ideas of others
     As you seek others in your retailing community who have these characteristics, stay aware of the advantages of also developing them in yourself.
     And keep in mind two research-based cautions about using the revolutionary ideas generated by spiral thinkers:
  • Because they so smoothly incorporate the ideas of others into their own, emergent thinkers can fail to give adequate credit to coworkers. Unless you step in to accurately acknowledge the contributions of the team, resentments can build which will interfere with the new business concept working.
  • Spiral thinkers are significantly better at coming up with new business concepts than with identifying new customer segments for the current business concept.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Ask Customers & Staff for Ideas
Draw Out Advice & Opinions from Shoppers

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