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Innovation and renovation mean eliminating assumptions: Minds at Work

Seeing the race in a different way is fundamental to successfully innovating and renovating a business, according to Minds at Work founder, Jason Clarke.

The key step is to eliminate assumptions. This means moving beyond the standards and constraints of existing perceptions and considering all possibilities through the IDEA process of 'imagine', 'develop', 'evaluate' and 'act'.

Clarke cited a dog track race as an example, where a hound in sixth and last place took a short cut across the middle in order to catch the mechanical rabbit. It did so as it had a panoramic view of its competitors and was able to assess their status. As a result, it devised a strategy not restricted by expectations and succeeded in attaining a seemingly impossible target.

While the 'think outside the box' cliche is at play here, Clarke said businesses need to work inside it as the plan must be executable.

This means the IDEA process is not something which one individual is able to pursue alone, but requires the appropriate individuals to be assigned to the correct phase, and interactions must occur sequentially.

Therefore the person who imagines must speak to the person who develops, who then talks to the evaluator who consults with one who enacts.

Skipping steps limits creativity as opportunities are dismissed early. Clarke explains this by using his term "premature evaluation"; if ideas in the first step are evaluated before they are developed, they may be eliminated before they can be developed due to their bizarre implications as imagining has no rules or boundaries.

This brings it back to Clarke's two-step innovation process where a business must first get out of the box (imagine) and then come back to it (develop, evaluate).

While IDEA is applicable to renovation, Clarke said businesses should also think like someone else or employ someone who can when it comes to changes. Another factor is questioning whether the business can: combine; re-purpose; substitute; adopt; magnify; simplify; modernise; minimise, reverse; or eliminate.

The 'and' word; going hybrid

Rather than deciding 'if' to commit to one vendor or another, businesses can grow a value proposition by utilising vendor one 'and' vendor two.

As Clarke puts it, "take a little Red Hat, bit of Veeam and Citrix, and create a unique service because taking on one vendor as they want you to is doing nothing new."

Newlease general manager, Warren Nolan, added, "still be what you are... [but] provide efficiency in the services you provide."

This of course entails offering choice, and while that may seem like common sense, it can give a business the option to say "let me be your IT expert."

Jason Clarke and Warren Nolan spoke at the Newlease 'Build a Hybrid Business' roadshow. ARN attended the Sydney leg as a guest of Newlease.


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