From small ideas…

Innovation doesn’t mean you constantly have to bet the farm. Far from it, argues author and entrepreneur, Peter Sims, in Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries. “We all want to make big bets,” he says. “Be bold. Go big. But I think ingenious ideas are overrated.” Sims found that people as diverse as architect Frank Gehry, comedian Chris Rock, entrepreneurs and executives in some of the world’s biggest corporations had very similar approaches, used the same basic methods and even used similar language when it came to innovation. Traditional problem-solving skills work where we have enough information, he says, “but what happens when we don’t even know what problems we’re trying to solve? In those kinds of situations, engaging in a process of discovery and making little bets complements more linear, procedural thinking”. For creativity expert Matthew May, little bets – a million of them – were at the heart of his business bestseller, The Elegant Solution. That’s how many new ideas Toyota implements each year, from right around the organisation. As May recalls: “I thought there was an opportunity to tell a story about Toyota, one that didn’t focus (like nearly every other book about Toyota at the time) on its manufacturing prowess, but about its quest to implement millions of small ideas with big impact.”


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