This is all about Conversation Imagination, the latest development at the Mixonian. If you didn’t read the first post on this published February 22, click HERE. The following doesn’t make as much sense on its own and it was far too much material to put in a single blog post.
Remember conversation imagination is a process, sparked by launch pad, or propelling questions, that drives actions to achieve something previously unconsidered, or thought to be impossible. It’s accessible to anyone, any project, any organization.
This process shows you new ways of thinking about your issues, and uncovers resources to offset existing limitations. (You can even use conversation imagination in those great conversations with yourself!)
Here is what you need to get started using Conversation Imagination.
Initial Components of Conversation Imagination:
1. For conversation imagination to work you need a bold ambition and a serious limitation. For example, you work at a brand of adult beverages and you aren’t allowed to advertise on television or print media. Using conversation imagination, you might decide to use your marketing money in sponsorships (Red Bull, though non-alcoholic) has leveraged this to propel itself to international fame.
Heineken changed their print media ads to accommodate more restrictive advertising laws and were able to outsell the top brand, while retaining a 30% price premium. Looking at your packaging, distribution and finding new assets come about with conversation imagination.
The point here is really that conversation imagination works optimally with specific goals and specific limitations, not enormously open questions like “Who is the customer of the future?” or “How can be add more value?”
You need a specific direction and a specific constraint (or several) to focus your ideas and energy.
2. You need the conviction, a renewal optimism, that your bold ambition is even attainable. Raising this credibility threshold means cultivating your Growth Mindset. This concept, first published by Dr. Carol Dweck, involves resilience, or seeing failure as a lesson to learn and not a reason to stop.
To remind you, people have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset on any issue. A fixed mindset comes from the conviction that your personal assets are locked in and cannot be changed. Someone with a growth mindset believes you can build your personal assets with education and training.
(Eduardo Briceno has a great 10-minute Tedx talk on Growth Mindset here.)
Curating and sharing success stories with your team is a great tool to raise the threshold of belief, or to increase the sense of what is truly possible for your group. But it starts with you. No one on your team is going to believe more than you.
Growth mindset is essential for maintaining the bold ambition as constraints continue to surface.
3. You need launch pad questions. These begin with “how can we…?”
The sure symptom of a fixed mindset is the response to challenge with “we can’t because.” With this kind of thinking, you can shut down this project right now. “We can’t because” is the default reaction of most people, a lowering of ambition because of a lack of experience in being exceptionally resourceful, which is the precisely the skill that Conversation Imagination develops.
Consider how clients may be able to help you or university researchers or maybe another company could win by helping you. When Virgin Airlines first launched in San Francisco, they had spend so much money upgrading their planes that they had no money left to market the launch. But hey, why not have a Victoria Secret fashion show on your plane? (Virgin launched successfully with the fashion show in 2007.)
Ways Conversation Imagination can change everything:
- It keeps the conversation on the right question, how something can become possible, rather than why it is impossible.
- It stimulates the production of optimism throughout the process while remaining inquisitive.
- It forces everyone involved to take responsibility for finding answers, rather than identifying obstacles. It’s always easier to criticize than to solve problems.
- It changes self-perception. You become the people developing solutions rather than stuck on identifying problems.
- It fortifies the growth mindset, creativity and critical thinking. (3 for 1!)
Whatever you want, conversation imagination can help you get it. We have a Mixonian Conversation Imagination Starter guide you can use to improve the performance and profitability. For a copy of our Conversation Imagination Tip Sheet, simple email firstname.lastname@example.org with “convo” in the subject line.
To read more about breaking through limitations, I strongly recommend A Beautiful Constraint by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden.