Innovation begins with big dreams, with asking “what if” questions, with forgetting what you know and what is real and let your mind wander. Call me a dreamer, if you like. Sometimes I feel that we are so focused on being efficient, productive and connected that we forget to dream a little.
After all, disruptive innovation doesn’t really come from following rational thinking and tried-and-true paths. I am not prophesying that we forgo rationality, quite the contrary, but we need a certain degree of irrational thinking, divergent thinking. It’s a bit like ying and yang. You need both. You need some background, some foundation, some guardrails to provide some direction. But once you have that, you need to let yourself go and dream a little. It all starts with thinking about the impossible and moving beyond. Unfortunately, it is not something that can be scheduled within a 15-min interval. It takes time. It takes nurturing. It is quite inefficient.
Our daily work is so productive that every minute is accounted for. Ten-minute meetings here. Fifteen-minute conference calls on our way to/from work, business dinners, breakfast strategy sessions. You name it, we’ve all done it. We are so plugged-in, so connected that we really can’t think beyond the current reality. But what is real today, shouldn’t be in the future. What is real today can be a springboard for the future, but it can’t be an evergreen reality.
A great example of this is the “plus pool“. Besides being completely off-the-wall with creating a floating pool in a river, everything about it is (or I should say was) unthinkable before you saw the picture in this blog. We are used to rectangular pools. Sure there are oval pools or some of us may have “wild” pools with curvature. But nothing like this.
The closest some of us have experienced “floating” pools may have been on cruise ships, but it is really high above the water. In this concept, you are essentially swimming in the river, but in a pool!?!
The pool filters the water from the river, making it very efficient and environmentally friendly.
And, quite honestly, it is a blue ocean idea. You just want to be on it to experience it. You see, you could go to the local pool and get the same functional experience (bathing in water). But that is not the point of this pool. Everything about this pool is “different”. It just redefines a lot of what we know about pools and therefore we want to “try” it.
That is the power of disruptive ideas, of 360 design, of dreaming a little…