Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Why not?

The Great Tim Sanders checked in a few months ago with a bozo-bashing post, Ask someone, "why not?". In typical Sanders style, it’s terse and whimsical. Here’s a quick take:

Tomorrow at work, when you are told NO, ask "why not?". If you don't feel like the answer you get gives you a clear understanding of the picture, like a five year old, keep asking "why?”. Don't stop until you feel enlightened or the other person feels stupid for making that assertion in the first place.
Static thinking is commonplace. Things are because they, well, are; do not ask why. What a pile of manure. Sanders reminded me Kawasaki’s hilarious lampoon of nay-saying “bozos,” the in-every-organization ferrets whose normalized, overbearing stubbornness stunts collective creativity.

It also recalled two previous posts herein where we engaged the value of curiosity (and sarcastically championed Curious George). In the first post, Yes, and … (creative lessons from children), we opined:
Creative people are like kids: They question apparent facts by asking why, how and what. Plato believed -– though I do not think it’s as binary as he posited -- experience takes away more than it adds … young people are nearer ideas than old people.
The second relevant post was our take, Problem solver, or problem finder? A quick snippet:
But, if we are conditioned to mechanically solve problems (think: IQ testing), how do we seek problems? A.F. Osborn contends creativity is activated when we bombard the imagination with queries, stabs such as, “what if…” “what about…” “what else…” And, I would add, “Yes, and …”
Finally, Sanders reminded me of Nalebuff and Ayres' thought-provoking book, Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small. The book is loaded with contrarian thinking tools (if you have not read it, get it … it’s good). It opens with a quote from Robert F. Kennedy:
Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”

No comments: