Impossible Problems can be solved if you see a different future!
In the last blog, we looked at the Impossible Problem Innovation Model® and started to deconstruct the concept of an impossible problem.
Let’s continue that focus because too quickly, people bypass the concept of clarity around a problem or opportunity. If you want to innovate and solve an impossible problem or leverage a fantastic opportunity you need to put in the work upfront to make that happen.
Diagram 1 introduces The Impossible Problem Innovation Model®.
Often there is a single person, he or she sees a different future, and they normally do not give up until the problem is solved or they’ve chased the opportunity. At the implementation stage, these people will manage the process.
Sometimes you and I as leaders will have an impossible problem to fix, your intuition will tell you to make things happen, and all around you people are saying you are mad.
Let’s look at you as a leader, wanting to solve that impossible problem; to do that we need to look at an early Kevin Costner movie as an example.
The movie is, ‘Field of Dreams’ and it was released in 1989. Some of you might not or will not see it, for others you will remember it fondly.
The storyline, he was a farmer in Iowa, heard voices, wanting him to build a baseball pitch on his corn farm. His impossible problem was convincing his wife and others he was not mad but was determined to solve the impossible problem by building the baseball pitch.
I won’t give you the ending of the film, but a recurring theme throughout the movie was, build it, and they will come. I wonder if that is the passion that drove Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos.
In the early 90s, a whole group of Aussies went over to a wedding in Iowa. It was right near where the Field of Dreams was filmed; we had to visit it as one of the local tourist attractions to visit.
As the group was getting ready to play a friendly game with some of the locals, I walked into the cornfield and then walked out near the pitching mound. A couple of boys approached me and said, “Hey Mister, what are you doing?” I announced that I had just arrived from Australia and I was ready to play ball. The eyes in their heads almost popped out thinking I had just arrived in the cornfields from Australia and was ready to play ball.
They never took their eyes off me until I went to hit the ball when I missed every ball they knew I was human.
The key point is this, as a leader, you need to establish and identify those impossible problems in your business that need fixing and then start the impossible problem process. Like in the movie, you sometimes have to take action. Once people know that you are serious, even the sceptics will be impressed when you take action.
Every stage of the ‘Impossible Problem Innovation Process’ involves everyone, gaining support as the solution develops. The implementation step needs careful planning. Often, as well as support for the idea, there will be resistance. Implementing the idea will take time and energy.
So, my call to action is simple; only pick one impossible problem to solve and forget what others might think. You will quickly find people who also want that problem fixed and want to be part of the solution team.