Innovative thinking in turbulent times - IMD Business School

Innovative thinking in turbulent times

Video vignette mini-series
6 min.
May 2020

Innovative thinking in turbulent times is a video miniseries with Louise Muhdi, Professor of Innovation and Strategy, IMD. The series examines how leaders can hone essential skills in a new world shaped by the COVID-19 crisis. Creativity, adaptation, and collaboration are no longer simply professional advantages – they are key to ensuring success.

“Lead with curiosity” is the two-part first session of this miniseries. It begins with “The first step to creativity”, which focuses on how to unleash creativity amidst external pressure. When the status quo is no longer so, leaders are expected to manage multiple demands with clarity and authority. Recognizing and navigating change is indeed possible if leaders take Professor Muhdi’s sound advice to heart.

By connecting to their natural curiosity, leaders and their organizations can boost creativity and ultimately, maximize innovation capabilities.

The two-part first session concludes with “The ‘new normal’”, which provides tips for embracing creativity. Using “backcasting”– a technique in which leaders begin their strategic thinking by seeing the future first, then looking backward to identify the steps that can help them reach that goal – can be very beneficial.

In the second session, “Turning challenges into opportunities”, Professor Muhdi explores the idea that knowledge overwhelms curiosity. Staying curious – in the zone between wonderance and confidence – is a characteristic of leaders that help us create new ways forward.

She offers three techniques to help with asking questions that foster changes in your brain chemistry and bring you one step further toward better solutions: ask questions that impose or eliminate constraints; use “killer questions” that go straight to the heart of the problem; and ask a Question Burst™ round of quick-fired questions.

The third session, “Making better decisions”, investigates how to identify and overcome barriers to decision-making. A great help is learning to structure thoughts to change perspective, according to Professor Muhdi.

She then explains the Six Thinking Hats technique developed by Edward de Bono, wherein participants put themselves in different, specific mindsets. This role-playing model helps guide your thinking and ensures a more holistic approach to decision making. It gives you the confidence to take the steps needed to solve problems and bring solutions to life.


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