Looking for breakthrough ideas? Look outside your own context

A roundup of the stories we wrote and the books we’re following

Founding Fuel

Hello there!

Another week raced by at breakneck speed. Leaving in its wake some items that are checked off the to-do list and some that remain. I wonder how it has been with you. Was the week more of the same or did you manage to do something that you haven’t done before? For that matter, have you paused and pondered, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

As I look at the week that’s raced by I realise that the constraints and headwinds that are getting served up our way seem to be ever increasing. The temptation, when such constraints abound, is to throw more resources at the problem. More people, more money, more expertise, more hours, more, more and more. Without pausing to reflect if more would actually lead to less than optimal outcomes.

Over the last week, I have had the opportunity of working with a few business leaders and organisations who have had the prescience to search for new lenses to approach their old problems. These lenses come from many sources. One such is immersing oneself to understand another context and applying their minds. These lead to remarkable insights to solve their own immediate challenges far better. As an example, picture an organisation sending a leadership team to serve a night as counsellors to the immediate family of patients in the ICU of a hospital, to imbibe empathy. The learnings can be multi-fold!

Learning from each other’s context is remarkably insightful and inspiring. We all learn from each other. Having the right questions, a mindset of curiosity and deep listening can catapult learning and performance to another level, especially when the challenge is kept front and centre. At Founding Fuel, designing meaningful immersions has been one heck of an experience.

As new walls are coming up the world over, history points in the direction of bringing in diverse ideas and people to collaborate for new frontiers to get established. Which makes Indrajit Gupta’s piece on Carlos Gohsn’s India story with the Renault Kwid a compelling read. The myriad factors that have contributed to creating a product that will challenge the hegemony of formidable players is not as much as it has required new thinking and how a new playbook is getting written for players wanting to enter the Indian market.

Two other pieces that got to the Founding Fuel site are both fantastic reads. Building a brand identity to create a high-value company is a piece that weaves the fine threads of what it takes to build a corporate identity from within. The other, is a book summary by D Shivakumar of Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit. Both are fabulous pieces that would give you a point or two to ponder on. I would invite you to look them up.

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As I close, I would urge you to stay drawn to the possibility of leading lives that are anchored in simplicity and learning. Going beyond boundaries can help you see your own dilemmas from a perspective that will provide its own questions, if not answers. Every piece that our website sports and every project that we work with is moored on “going beyond the boundary”. After all, to be on the cutting edge, it is important to continually experiment with various disciplines, or as they say, always be in perpetual beta. Stay tuned.


For Team Founding Fuel,

Kavi Arasu

Featured Stories

[By Norsk Elbilforening under Creative Commons]

Why Carlos Ghosn took ten years to taste success in India

Despite umpteen setbacks, the charismatic global chairman of Renault-Nissan didn’t give up on the opportunity in the Indian auto market. And finally, his team delivered a winner in the Renault Kwid. (By Indrajit Gupta. Read Time: 3 mins)

Ask these questions to make your coaching and leadership effective

Coaching is an essential leadership skill. And questions are a good way to open doors, says Michael Bungay Stanier in his book ‘The Coaching Habit’. (By D Shivakumar. Read Time: 4 mins)

Building a brand identity to create a high-value company

How should a company increase the value of its products and services through building a brand identity? The third in a five-part series on how companies can stand out in a competitive marketplace. (By CKGSB Knowledge. Read Time: 4 mins)

What Has Our Attention

Book: The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures

As I think of immersive experiences, on my mind is the book The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures by Frans Johansson.

Johansson argues that ground-breaking ideas emerge at the intersection, where well-entrenched ideas meet new ones and new ways of thinking. How we find these spaces, ideas, people and turn them into breakthrough innovations is going to be the game of the future.

The book is a great read. Anyone wrestling with a problem for a while will get a few alternative approaches to solving it.

From Our Archives: Great Reads on Business Storytelling

[By Jim Pennucci under Creative Commons]

I am also a great fan of Indranil Chakraborty’s pieces on business storytelling. I am awestruck by how he deploys a simple concept of storytelling to telling effect across business situations, to solve specific challenges. Be they harnessing employee energy, managing knowledge, or triggering action. The entire series is precious and can help in furthering your cause. They tell quite some story! Here are three from the series:

Only perfect practice makes perfect

Deliberate practice can make you a natural storyteller. (Read Time: 4 mins)

Untangling messy people issues

People-related issues are complex and unpredictable. Elicit stories about them to understand patterns and design the right interventions. (Read Time: 6 mins)

The gobbledygook generator

Is your communication also clouded with business jargon? (Read Time: 3 mins)

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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