During the 80s in the US, I had the pleasure of working with a truly inspiring leader, Jack Welch of GE. Jack was a big fan of XIO Thinking and cvs2bvs which he called, “The simplest idea in the world”.
When I was designing GE XIO, an enterprise solution on innovation thinking for GE over several years, I had a range of different discussions with the great business leader. In one discussion, as I often do, I raised Gallup’s controversial view on leaders and their reluctance for change. I was a little surprised when Jack enthusiastically agreed with this view which he called “the paradox of enterprise leadership”.
His paradox was as follows: on the one hand it is broadly agreed that an enterprise needs to change and to adapt in order to survive and grow but on the other hand individual leaders at any particular time are reluctant to change.
As evidence of this paradox Jack then revealed a startling admission. He confided that, “During my career at GE I had to hide on the way up all of the change and innovation skills I really needed to use when I became the boss”.
History records that Jack, as the leader of GE, went on to multiply his business by 4000%!!
I was very fortunate to have, as my examiner for my PhD, Professor George Gallup who was the inventor of market research and universally admired founder of The Gallup Poll at Princeton. He wrote about why leaders have an in-built logical reluctance towards change in The Miracle Ahead (Harper & Row NY 1964):
Change cannot be brought about easily by leaders, except in those situations in which the changes advocated do not disturb the present relationships. In fact, it is the leaders who typically become the most bitter and the most effective foes of change.
The public must take the initiative and assume responsibility for progress in the affairs of man. The public must force change upon its leaders who command more respect today than perhaps they deserve. The leader is expert in his or her small world as it presently exists, not expert in the world as it might exist.
Although the leader plays an important part in modern society, it is not realistic to expect him or her to advocate change. This is the surest way for that leader to lose his or her status. The hope of the future rests with the citizen also known as, the customer.
To be effective the citizen/customer must be well-informed, and she or he must discover better ways of making better use of her own great capacities and those of her friends. Citizens or customers cannot expect their leaders to give them much help in their upward march.
â€œWe can predict broad outlines, but we donâ€™t know the ramifications,â€ the video says. â€œInformation travels everywhere; anyone can access everything â€” the collective intelligence of humanity drives innovation in every direction while enabling new threats from super-empowered individuals with new domains, interconnecting faster than ever before. Unlimited combinations create unforeseen consequences.â€
Artistâ€™s concept of a KardashevÂ Type 2 civilization (credit: Chris Cold)
Lt Col Garretson â€” one of the USAFâ€™s most farsighted and original thinkers â€” has been at the forefront of USAF strategy on the long-term future in projects such as Blue Horizons (on KurzweilAI â€” see video), Energy Horizons, Space Solar Power, the AF Futures Game, the USAF Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the USAF RPA Flight Plan. Now in this exclusive to KurzweilAI, he pushes the boundary of long-term thinking about humanityâ€™s survival out to the edge â€¦ and beyond. â€” Kurzweil Ed.
It isnâ€™t enough just to plan for two or 20, or even the fabled Chinese 100 year periods. We need to be thinking and planning on the order of billions of years. Our civilization needs inter-generational plans and goals that span as far out as we can forecast significant events.
For this discussion, I define a â€œsignificant eventâ€ as an event about which we have foreknowledge and which will fundamentally change our planning assumptions.
For thousands of years much has been written about thinking. Every culture has its explanations, philosophies, methods and myths. In recent decades, the development of the digital world and the discoveries of cognitive science have provided us with even more powerful insights.
In this lesson we present you with a simple theory of thinking that you can understand immediately and begin to put into practise.: ESCAPE + SEARCH = THINK â€¦
The Theory of Thinking is e + s = t
ESCAPE + SEARCH = THINK
Thinking, in any situation, is escaping from your current view of the situation (cvs), and searching for a much better view of the situation (bvs).
(PIC: Michael teaching E+S=T to a business group in Shanghai in May 2008)
If we can escape from our current viewpoints, thinking patterns, righteousness and established ways of doing things–our CVS–we can then take a quantum leap ahead of our own experience and jump to ‘a much better way’–a BVS.
Sometimes I call this Kangaroo Thinking because we can experiment and we can innovate in leaps and bounds.
cvs2bvs, the Universal Brain Software, frees the brainuser to hop across parallel universes with tenpower.
cvs2bvs also allows the brainuser to switch from one parallel universe to another.
Search! Search! Search! Seek and find. Look beyond your cvs. Ask! Ask! Ask!
Search for alternatives, options and possibilities because there is ALWAYS a BVS!
There are always many, many different ways of looking at any particular situation. Whatever it is that we are currently doing, someone else, somewhere, is already doing it a “much better way”. Once we escape from the CVS–the current way–we can search for the BVS–the much better way.
Because human perception is unstable
we can always change the way we look at things.
Thinking is a skill. To become proficient in escaping from your CVS and searching for a BVS (the much better way) always involves practice and repetition–at least ten times–if we are to build new cognitive patterns and acquire skill and virtuosity.