Transforming Your Business… Now

In the current environment, there is a need to solve new problems, find new opportunities, and learn new ways of doing things – all at a time when the future is uncertain.

“We are in an unusual situation, where you have to think about changing things immediately or in the very near future,” said Joshua Klayman, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Science, University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

“Any person who works is going to have to face the possibility that things are going to be different moving forward, not only for the short term, but possibly for the long term as well,” he explained during his Small Business Bootcamp session in which he shared tools and techniques to think about changes and transformations ahead.

This requires innovative thinking and creative problem solving, which Klayman noted are not the functions of particular people but something that is needed from everyone.

“There are two important ways of being creative,” he explained. First, be flexible in reframing the problem in order to open up “a whole new realm” of solutions. Often, not enough time is devoted to this step, as there is a bias toward action. Said Klayman, “We want to stop and think more about the problem we are facing.”

Ask: Where are the hidden boundaries? What assumptions am I making that limit things?

“Let’s question those assumptions and find out if they’re real,” said Klayman, who noted there are still more hidden boundaries – “It’s all how you look at it.”

The second important way to be creative is to think like a designer, Klayman explained: Start with desirability and invest more time in this phase. Ask questions, talk to people, have them ask you questions, and observe what people do.

“You aren’t going to be able to tell the good ideas from the bad ideas if you only play it safe and do things you are 100% sure will work,” he said. “Creative new things are never 100% sure.”

The Polsky Center’s virtual Small Business Bootcamp was made possible through a partnership with the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, on behalf of a larger coalition of University groups and partners.

// We will be recapping the Bootcamp all week, but all the sessions were recorded and can be found online, here.

Interested in seeking more coaching and support? Apply for the Small Business Circle. Applications are due Thursday, April 28 at 5:00 p.m. CST. Learn more and apply. >>

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