\ bi-ˈgi-nər-z ˈmīnd \
Once you become an expert in a domain you most likely stop seeing the new and the obvious. And all the more you do not dare to challenge what you have achieved so far. Problem-oriented thinking is helpful to make existing things better. If we are just looking for problems to solve, we might make customers happy – at least for a while – but we move too slowly. Looking for solutions to existing problems is of little help when wanting to make big leaps. So beware: Not everything that has disruption on the cover is actually about disruption! More often than not, it’s just incremental innovation disguised as disruption. A sheep in wolf’s clothing.
True innovation is radical by default. And being able to think radical is not a matter of method but of attitude. It is so much easier to call for an open mind than to actually develop and maintain one. The zeitgeist demands that we think like children again – yet we don’t even allow them to really think freely. Let alone ourselves. We are obsessed with expertise and perfection. But that is what is preventing us from really moving forward. If we keep on fixing problems that we ourselves have created beforehand, we may increase sales in the short term, but we will never get to the heart of the matter. Changing things for the better requires to let go of expert knowledge and open the imagination of what a better world could look like.
An open mind is able to destroy and deconstruct the status quo just by gaining empathy for the world around us. Only a beginner can do that, for she is the only one that is willing to put at risk what has been achieved in order to gain something even better. Zen teaches us that „in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” If we keep our self-sufficient way of thinking we will never be able to open up. A closed mind cannot imagine a better future, only an empty mind can. And empty means being ready for anything. Let’s start over (again and again).