🦊 The value of (clever) expedient for innovators

🦊 The value of (clever) expedient for innovators
Photo by Florian Klauer / Unsplash

Many (many) years ago, I learned that most branches of Hinduism, and later Buddhism, were using precise tools to teach concepts or notions that essentially cannot be explained. There are called upāya kauśalya (उपाय कौशल्य) in Sanskrit or fāngbiàn (方便) in Chinese.

It translates as skillful means or clever expedient.

The implication is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately "true" in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to the true realization in a similar way. - Wikipedia

Clever expedients are exactly what we need in innovation.

It's not about being right, scientifically accurate, or applying the best theory ever. It's about surviving another day, kicking doors open, and finding a beachhead to a core market. The metaphor of building a plane while falling from a cliff is a tad dramatic. It might still be about making a kite from your pant and shirt before impact.

In that sense, we always believed (and confirmed) that a good framework is better than a 600 pages business book. One of the best business books I read years ago was Kaplan and Norton's Balanced Scorecard. It's also unusable unless you have decided to commit to going deep, understand all its nuance, and completely reprocess the authors' logic for your needs—something impossible while you're running a business. The question becomes how you can snapshot the critical elements of this logic to convey to someone else what is actionable. And by the way, this mindset was absolutely decisive when we designed and built our "web school" offer.

Even a simple sentence can unlock your business perspective.

Remember, If it's free, you're the product, or Advertising is a tax you pay for being unremarkable? Just like insisting that Your product is not interesting, what's the problem you solve? Even if it's not really true, for startup founders, it's still an efficient way to get their mindset where it needs to be as soon as possible.  

Do you have such hacks in your toolbox? Not just cheap meeting or workshop tricks, but simple tools you know can be pivotal for entrepreneurs and innovators. Let me know!


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