Why You Should Be Unreasonable

Human Potential
July 17, 2020
Words by
Ross Thornley

In a world of deadlines, budgets, and performance reviews, it’s understandable that few individuals would want to be seen as “unreasonable.” The exposure brought on by daring to be unreasonable can be frightening, and the prospect of doing harm...

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Adaptability in an exponential world — how to shift from surviving to thriving.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

-George Bernard Shaw

In a world of deadlines, budgets, and performance reviews, it’s understandable that few individuals would want to be seen as “unreasonable.” The exposure brought on by daring to be unreasonable can be frightening, and the prospect of doing harm — however unlikely it may be — can loom large.

However, “unreasonableness” is the key to innovation, improvement, and unlocked futures; bold thinkers who are able to envision a seemingly impossible future are the key to a better world.

Having spent a week at Singularity University in the summer of 2017 in the heart of Silicon Valley, I was witness to the gaps and distance caused when people interpreted each other’s actions as unreasonable. There were many ethics debates about the pending impact and unexpected consequences of exponential technologies. Particularly AI and robotics. (This will be the subject for a later blog post).

Back to why we should be more unreasonable, in order to reach the ever increasing demand for rapid innovation, there is an ever-growing array of problem-solving methods, tools, frameworks, and consultants within reach. Design thinking, agile evangelists , sprints of all stripes, lean techniques, the list goes on. Each has strengths and merits, and they can be powerful tools when used with intention. When adopted, however, these often become the focus of the team at the expense of the outcome. Rather than seeing the SCRUM — or whatever it may be — as a tool it’s often seen as an outcome itself. Completing a meeting becomes the goal, rather than using that particular meeting to meet a grander ambition.

This can lead to immense fatigue. We understand.

That said, at Leaps® we don’t accept this as inevitable. Instead, we combine tools and inspiring facilitators together with our methodology to create a space where the “unreasonable” can happen. We believe deeply in the unreasonable thinker, and see the importance of creating an environment where they can come to the fore without judgement or threat.

Everyone has an unreasonable thinker in them, and we are committed to coaxing this voice out of teams across industries and verticals.

Just how do we do this?

To start, we use methods and tools for what they are: methods and tools. We do not let our progress get hampered by focusing on the tools as the end of our progress. Next, our facilitators inspire the project teams to create greater ambition, encouraging boldness, think bigger and truly coaxing new ideas out of diverse groups.

One key element of this: the Leaps® cocoon effect.

A cocoon is a productive, rich, and protected space where everyone is free to experiment boldly.

It is a space apart from the pull of old habits and future fears. It is a space where you can de-shackle yourself from your norms, and find true progress. It is dynamic, with diverse voices and intentional facilitation. It is not an austere, sanitized, or closed-off space. Instead, it is full of experts, audience members, and facilitators who lend their viewpoints and ideas. It is a space for the unreasonable to become possible. A place where sparks are given the oxygen they need to blaze.

Our clients experience a profound sense of project ‘de-risk’ through the accelerated pace and rapid early stage validation. A unique experience which fosters wider ideation, deeper future thinking and expanded experimentation.

In practice, this can mean something different for each group. For many, it means disconnecting from email and mobile phones in order to create a more mindful space. For others, it is setting aside full week stretches where the focus is on just one big opportunity and challenge.

Many of the groups we interact with benefit from team building exercises, in order to strengthen unity throughout the group and foster trust. Often, teams adopt new tools and ways of working as a result of this process, always remembering the purpose for which they were adopted.

Does it sound like your team could benefit from a highly productive cocoon, to build something new, something bold, something game-changing? Are you ready to leap into an unreasonable world?

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Here’s to those who see the world differently.

They’re the ones who are brave, ambitious and experimental. While some might see risk and disruption – we see hope.

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