There’s ‘Out of the box’ thinking, and then there’s ‘Thinking about the box differently’ thinking!

There’s a story in the papers today about Dutch company Vanmoof who manufacture quite expensive electronic bikes (up to £2,000 each) and the innovative solution they created to a major problem.

They had a number of bikes damaged in transit.  I don’t know about you, but if I had spent £2,000 on a bike, I would be very excited to receive delivery, and I would find that excitement dissipate if the package, and most importantly, the bike was damaged, and that bike would be sent straight back.

They changed couriers a number of times and the problem persisted. The solution they came up with was to print a television on the side of their boxes and they discovered that the couriers treated the boxes better and it resulted in over 80% reduction in the number of bikes delivered damaged, with all the positive ramifications of delighted customers.

What I particularly liked about this story was how the solution was so clever and cost virtually nothing. It was ‘just’ a brilliant simple idea.

Except brilliant ideas are not always simple, not always welcome, not always cultivated.

We human beings are blessed with incredible creativity, yet many people do not consider themselves creative, and many organisations either consciously or unconsciously supress our ability to access our creativity. Our creativity needs certain conditions to flourish. When both internal and external conditions are in place, clarity, collaboration and creativity combine to produce amazing results.

The internal conditions are created though our communication. If a person feels threatened, manipulated, or undermined, they will unconsciously direct attention to survival, to protection, to avoidance of risk.

Unfortunately, much of the communication in our society is negative, with people having expectations and making assumptions because they are focused on their own agenda. This does not lead to an environment where people can come up with creative solutions which have the potential to make significant improvements.

A new service that I am offering is a ‘Communication Needs Analysis’ where we can look at the current communication in your organisation, and allow an outside view on the impact that the communication has, together with some recommendations, if appropriate, on how to change for the better.

I salute Vanmoof for creating a culture that supports creative thinking and solution finding, as well as amazing bicycles. Check them out if you are interested in cutting edge bike design, and check in with me if you are interested in making your team’s thinking cutting edge.