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Ernesto Verdugo

Breakthrough Thinking Revolutionary Approach

What is Breakthrough Thinking? By definition Breakthrough Thinking is a Deliberate, focused effort aimed at developing radically new approaches that overcome constraints, instead of making incremental changes in the older ways of working. This speeches on creativity offer useful tips and strategies for individuals in various industries to reach their full creative potential.

"Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application, rather than means, that men fail of success." -La Rochefoucauld

Studies have shown that around 8% of the people are intuitive Breakthrough Thinkers. You may be a staunch advocate of one of the following principles, such as systems thinking or people involvement. Our purpose is to show you the greater impact you can have by consciously integrating all seven of these principles and using them deliberately; and by being able to tell others what process of thinking you are using.

1. UNIQUENESS PRINCIPLE: Assume initially that the problem, issue or opportunity is different. Don't copy a solution or use a technique from elsewhere just because the situation may appear to be similar.

"Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different." -Albert Szent-Gyorgi The most successful problem solvers do not begin by trying to find out what has worked for someone else. We can't clone others' successes. Copying what others have done doesn't necessarily produce the same results for us. We don't know where others have come from and more importantly where they are headed. If we could get their solutions to work for us, by the time we succeeded, these others would have likely continued ahead of us. This is because:
  • No two situations are alike. For starters, people in each are always different
  • Each problem is embedded in a unique array of related problems
  • Problems that may look alike may have different purpose needs
  • Tomorrow's technology is already different than today's

2. PURPOSES PRINCIPLE: Explore and expand purposes to understand what really needs to be accomplished.

"It is not enough to just do your best or work hard; You must know what to work on." -W. Edwards Deming Make sure you are working on the right problem. Ask, "what are we trying to accomplish?" And, "What is the purpose of accomplishing that?" and "What is the purpose of that?" Focusing on purposes lets the uniqueness of the situation become clear and helps strip away nonessential aspects to avoid working on just the visible problem. Always start an activity with a hierarchy of purposes: Purposes for a meeting. Purposes for a project or program or plan. Purposes for training. Purposes for a product or service. Purposes for a system. Purposes for a decision. Purposes for collecting information. Anything we do has a purpose within a hierarchy of purposes. Starting with purposes is commonly accepted wisdom although not everyone practices it under fire. What makes Breakthrough Thinking different is the expansion of purposes from a small purpose up through a hierarchy of and larger larger purposes. Understanding the context (of smaller and larger purposes) of the situation provides focus, and this focus gives you a strategic advantage.

3. SOLUTION-AFTER-NEXT (SAN) PRINCIPLE: Think future solutions for the focus purpose and work backwards. Consider the solution you would recommend if in three years you had to start all over. Make changes today based on what might be the solution of the future.

"Creativity consists of coming up with many ideas, not just that one great idea." -Charles Thompson We must look beyond the immediate situation and its solution, to the solution we would use the next time we had to address it. Work backwards from an ideal future solution for achieving needed purposes, not forward from today's situation or problem. Having a target solution in the future gives direction to near-term solutions and infuses them with larger purposes. Most people associate "creativity" only with a process that produces a novel idea that is accepted as useful or satisfying to a group at some times. Creativity is therefore highly desirable as part of this principle. But one of the lessons we learn from studies of leading thinkers is that all of the principles and the process steps of reasoning need creativity, not just in one solution-idea-generating activity. We call this purposeful creativity.

4. SYSTEMS PRINCIPLE: Everything we seek to create and restructure is a system. Think of solutions and ideas as a system of eight elements. Use a solution framework that includes all elements and interrelationships.

"Problems and solutions nest within a complex array of related systems and problems." - Bob Wiele A poorly detailed solution may leave you with multiple problems in place of the original situation. Most of what we have to cope with in problem solving is unseen. The systems understanding of our solution serves as sonar and radar, designed to illuminate the seven-eighths of all solution ideas and recommendations that otherwise might be overlooked. Every solution or system is part of a larger system and solving one problem inevitably leads to another. Understanding the elements that comprise a solution lets you determine in advance the complexities you must incorporate and the actions you must take in the implementation of the solution, while still keeping the future as a guide. Breakthrough Thinking defines these eight system elements: Eight System Elements 1. Purpose: mission, aim, need 2. Inputs: people, things, information 3. Outputs: people, things, information 4. Operating Steps: process and conversion tasks 5. Environment: physical & organizational 6. Human Enablers: people, responsibilities, skills, to help in the sequence* 7. Physical Enablers: equipment, facilities, materials to use in the sequence* 8. Information Enablers: knowledge, instructions*

* Enables the Process but does not become part of the Output

5. NEEDED INFORMATION COLLECTION PRINCIPLE: Collect only the information that is necessary to continue the solution-finding process. Know your purposes for collecting data. Study solutions, not problems.

"The breeding ground for barriers to fresh ideas and the implementation of them is in the detailed analysis of what exists." Don't be a DRIP: Data Rich and Information Poor. So much time is wasted collecting wrong and useless data, in recording it, compiling it, analyzing it, documenting it, justifying it and reporting what it means. It is one reason why project teams struggle so much and get bogged down. The benefit of limiting information collection to what is needed, results in:
  • requiring less total time, cost, energy, and document handling
  • providing a high quality of usable information
  • eliminating the defensiveness of people when reviewing data about what exists
  • identifying better system interrelationships
  • providing guidance to implementing solutions
We are trying to reach superior decisions through needed information. Data can give us information. Information can give us knowledge. Knowledge can give us learning, and learning can give us the wisdom to make superior decisions. What we will do with the information (purposes) provides the wisdom and learning we need.
  • Determine what information is really needed - and not really needed
  • Collect data on purposes and possible solutions rather than initially on the problem -extensive data gathering may make you an expert on the problem but it may also prevent you from seeing many alternatives.
  • Collect information from a variety of sources and share it broadly
  • Ask how the solution could work -- become an expert about possible future -solutions
Don't become an expert about the problem. Become an expert on solutions. Before taking the time and wasting the effort to collect and analyze extensive data, determine what purposes would be achieved by gathering that data. Data is only a representation of the real world:
  • The future can not be predicted from a perfect knowledge of the past or present
  • Relevance is better than -accuracy
  • Collecting information is not a neutral process

6. PEOPLE DESIGN PRINCIPLE: Give everyone who will be affected by the solution or idea the opportunity to participate throughout the process of its development with the other principles. A solution will work only if people know about it and help to develop and improve it.

"We cannot talk people into accepting the future if they haven't been there." Individuals are the core to a solution's success. Their concerns and ideas must be treated as the fabric of excellent problem solving. Breakthrough Thinking actually starts---and sustains ---the entire process with this principle. People are much more willing to take part in solution finding when uniquenesses, purposes, SAN, systems and needed information are guides to involvement. Changing the thinking process changes the "feelings" of people. The benefits we obtain from People Design include:
  • Their knowledge of the "secrets" (purposes, technology fiction, solutions-after-next and systems) of the front line
  • Their support of the larger purposes to be achieved rather than resistance to change
  • Their understanding of the principles and participation in the PTR process
  • Getting the creative (technology fiction) juices- -flowing
  • Getting the team to focus on customer-based perspectives
  • Their emotional attachment to a future they helped to create
  • Together reaching better solutions

7. BETTERMENT TIMELINE PRINCIPLE: Install changes with built-in seeds of future change. Know when to fix it before it breaks. Know when to change it.

"Even if you are on the right track you'll get run over if you just stand there." - Will Rogers No matter how effectively you create a new process or system, or improve the present one it will never be good enough to meet the needs of various customers in the future. What happens is a kind of invisible, slowly creeping process rotting. Processes that once worked extremely well will be required to meet additional purposes and requirements over time. New technology will render certain processes obsolete. People and environments will change. Assumptions upon which the original solution was based will go away. The Betterment Timeline Principle refutes the conventional wisdom that you shouldn't fix something if it isn't broken. For a solution to continue to be effective, it has to be maintained and upgraded continually toward the target solution-after-next. The assumptions, purposes, technology, environment and constraints upon which the solution is based change with time. Even the target needs to be updated regularly. Breakthrough Thinking Solutions are meant to be "up to future date." Because time tarnishes all solutions, Breakthrough Thinking:
  • Includes in the change the seeds of later change
  • context of larger purposes
  • solution-after-next target
  • future dimension of system
  • Prepares a schedule for change and -improvement
  • Takes advantage of long term -perspectives
  • Enables us to learn continuously in a rapidly -changing environment
  • Builds in the "continuing improvement" concept rather than "adding it on" as separate assignment.

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