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Dave Birss – Divergence – Author Glassboard

Dave Birss – Divergence – Author Glassboard

DAVE BIRSS [00:00:06] Hi, I’m Dave Birss. I’m obsessed with creativity. And what I end up doing is I speak to organisations and I speak to students and I tell people about how they can get better ideas out of their heads and how organisations can get better ideas. And I do that by working with organisations. I do it by speaking events all over the world. And I’m an author. So at the beginning of the year, I was involved in writing a book called Iconic Advantage, which was looking at a better way of using innovation as a way of growing your brand. And in November, I’ve got another book coming out that’s currently titled How to Get to a Great Idea, and that’s looking at how we can use our brands and how organisations can manage better to be able to come up with better ideas.

DAVE BIRSS [00:00:58] So when we start talking about what makes a good idea. One of the things that we need to do is clear that up because a lot of people don’t understand it. So on this axis here, we’ve got known obviousness. On this axis here, we’ve got value. So the ideas that most people play with are usually pretty obvious and have dubious levels of value to them. What we are looking for, for ideas that are going to be great for an organisation is up here because up here, when you’ve got an idea that’s non obvious and it’s valuable, so actually helps you achieve something. It means that you’re going to be able to differentiate yourself. You’re going to be able to spot opportunities that other people don’t spot. And these are the kind of ideas that I help organisations to have. Now, one of the things if we’re wanting to get to that kind of idea, one of the things we need to understand is every group of people has a norm. And this is a natural thing to have a norm. There’s evolutionary reasons for it. If you were part of a group in Palaeolithic times out in the African plains, you know, being part of a group meant there was a good chance that you would get to pass on your DNA. If you were an individual living by themselves, there’s probably more chance you’re going to pass on your protein to a wild beast. So if you wanted to pass on your DNA, it meant that being part of a group, being comfortable being part of a group was a selective trait. So it means that humans that around now have this trait that we feel is pool to the centre of a norm and you get norms of all scales. So you get norms of what it means to be the person in your country, to be your nationality. So I know what it means to be Scottish. And then you’ve got other norms all the way down to smaller groups of people that you’re with. So your groups of friends, you’ve got your norm, your organisation that you work for. you’ve got a norm. And that means that you’ve got similar understandings. You’ve got similar knowledge. You’ve got similar assumptions. You get similar ways of doing things. And that means that if you’re just like everyone else, you’re going to come up with the same kind of ideas as everyone else, that isn’t valuable. It’s obvious if you want to get to these great, valuable ideas, they’ll lie outside. Here they lie outside an arm. And that means that we need to be able to diverge from our norms if we want to be able to access these valuable ideas.

DAVE BIRSS [00:03:29] Now, there’s some people who naturally diverge from the norm. They’re going to be slightly different to other people in the group. There’s two different kinds of divergence. The first kind of divergence is one with no control over. That’s involuntary divergence. So one of those would be there’s four of these. We’ve got diversity. You’ve got your upbringing. You’ve got trauma. things that change the course of your life. You’ve got illness. And with one in four people in the West at the moment suffering from a mental health issue. Actually, this is one of the biggest things we’ve got in the workplace is people whose minds work in a different way. Now, another kind of divergence that we’ve got is voluntary divergence, stuff that we’ve got control over. And again, we’ve got four kinds of these. We’ve got contrarianism. That’s people who will ask questions, they’ll ask why. They’ll go against the grain but you need to do that in a positive way so that you’re actually coming up with alternatives. Another we’ve got is dreaminess. So people who can actually just let their minds drift and imagine different scenarios. That’s a highly valuable thing. That is imagination. And some people, they prefer to dance with a unicorn and Narnia than do their spreadsheets. These people, if you give them the right kind of stuff to work on, can be massively valuable to an organisation. Then i’ve got altered states. Now, of course, I came from the advertising industry and they like to have altered states through a lunchtime pint or six and any other way of doing it. But there’s different ways that we can alter the state of our mind. Exercise is one of the best ways that we can do that. And then we’ve got play, play being one of the most misunderstood things in business. All play is doing is giving you a different norm to operate within for a limited period of time. And that helps you access these valuable ideas. run the outside. So if you want to be different, you have to understand that most people within their norm have very narrow and put. Under narrow input, just like everyone else’s leads to narrow output. If you want to be valuable to your organisation, you need to have a broader level of input. And that broader level of input lets you have a broader kind of output, it’s input process output. And if you’ve got the same stuff in your head as everyone else, you’re gonna come up with the same kind of ideas as everyone else. So you need to embrace your difference. And you need to embrace the difference of those around you within an organisation because most organisations, they try to limit things to their norm. But we need to embrace everything roundabout. The companies are going to be successful in the future are the ones who are able to embrace people’s difference and allow that to become a valuable thing within their organisation.