Forget What You Know: Disrupt Your Thinking

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FPA Business Solutions 2013 kicked off this morning with keynote speaker Luke Williams, who urged the room of 200 or so financial planning professionals to embrace “disruptive thinking.” If we continue to see things how they are, how we innovate for the future?

Luke Williams urges planners to disrupt their thinking at FPA Business Solutions 2013.

Luke Williams urges planners to disrupt their thinking at FPA Business Solutions 2013.

Disruptive thinking starts with a bold, provocative question. But then you must define the opportunity around that question, because disruption for the sake of disruption is just annoying for everyone, according to Williams, who is a professor of marketing and the executive director for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at NYU’s Stern School of Business (he’s also the author of Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business).

To practice disrupting thinking, follow these steps:

1. Craft a disruptive hypothesis.

2. Define a disruptive market opportunity.

3. Generate several disruptive ideas.

4. Shape a disruptive solution.

5. Make a disruptive pitch.

As you’re coming up with a “disruptive hypothesis,” ask yourself:

  • What can I invert?
  • What can I deny? (Deny what you think you need to offer to be successful, so you can figure out what you need to do to improve and innovate.)
  • What can I scale? (This involves properties and quantities of something. If something is abundant, how can you make it scarce?)

And question clichés along the way. Williams gave the example of socks. Who would ever think of selling socks in any other way but in pairs of two? The folks behind did. They used disruptive thinking to launch a company based on selling mismatched socks in sets of three. You can’t buy just two. And it’s successful. So go ahead, disrupt your thinking and see what happens.

Carly SchulakaCarly Schulaka
Managing Editor

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