Your Brain is like a Bottle of Orangina

by Stephan Vincent

Your Brain is like a Bottle of OranginaI grew up in France with Orangina in the 80s. But more than childhood reminiscence, it has become a mindset. Why? Check out this video

The message is: your brain is like to bottle of Orangina. If you don’t shake up your thinking, your creativity stays at the bottom, like the pulp.

The world as we’ve known it is upside down. It is out of whack. With all the new trends coming into place, how do we demark our services, our products from the competition? What do we need to do to keep them relevant and noticeable by the new generations and emerging populations? A product that is seen today as innovative will tomorrow be a commodity.

I remember the good old days when a blackberry was a fruit, when you did not need an emoticon to express your feelings. Things seemed to be easier before.  Nowadays, young children know to play Angry Birds on smart phones or tablets before learning how to tie their shoe laces. This is why my 6-year-old son wears shoes with Velcro, to have time to play Angry Birds. The other day, my 9-year-old daughter spotted the old encyclopedias my mother-in-law had placed in the basement. “What are those”?, she asked me. I tried to explain the concept to her, but it just was not clicking.

Finally, she said, “It’s like Wikipedia or Google, but in a book”.

You and the people in your organization must upgrade their thinking in order to master this new age. The design of your thinking determines all of your results in this whacky world, and the wilder, funkier and more unique your thinking, the better positioned you are for success.

Change happens. It doesn’t care whether you like it or not. Change doesn’t need your permission. Change is the one constant in business. What you decide to do with change is up to you. It is people, talent and their skills within your organization that are driving innovation, creativity and pushing the boundaries of business and the world as we know it.

“ . . . the idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice.” (John Maynard Keynes, 1937). This was in 1937!!

As Kelly Hipskind from Herff Jones put it at a recent Centric event, innovation is a mindset.

What can you do to shake up your thinking?

Consciously seek a different perspective.
We humans are creatures of habit, we like the comfort of the routine, of what we are familiar with. Ok, we may slightly adapt the original way as we learn new things. But we are not fundamentally wired to look for the new and different (or better). The best way to do this is to create a new habit – the habit of pausing and questioning. As Doug McColgin puts it in a recent blog, in order to change our mindset, we flee our normal work setting and unlock ourselves in a creative space; we take offsite unstructured time to re-source ourselves, change our perspectives.

You must collide your thinking with others, so that you don’t lock yourself in the “we’ve always done it this way and it works” mentality. Because tomorrow, it will stop working. 

Beat the “Can’t” mentality.
As Steve Jobs said, “the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. Mark the “beat the “can’t” mentality” as part of your metrics for the year. Every time someone in your organization says “we can’t”, it goes against his/her metrics. Or ask people to donate $1 to the charity of your choice every time they bring the “can’t” word. You will make a charitable organization happy!

Make change an integral part of your culture.
Few words strike error into the minds of humans like the word “change.” Yet change is the critical key to business success. Have you ever considered changing partners? Not changing partners in terms of swapping spouses, but changing your partners’ or co-workers’ mindset and behavior?  Have you tried to do that? Great businesses lead their markets by changing the game, changing the way we live, work, communicate, dress and eat. Changing the way we interact with technology. To win, we must create change. That means we need to accept change as part of our business advantage. So how can you create a culture of change?

Here are some ideas:

  • Start a change board (instead of a white board) where folks can suggest changes to improve your processes, products, team structure and anything else that contributes to business growth.
  • Reward change thinking. Visibly reward folks for pushing the envelope, even if you don’t use the ideas. Reward the act of stepping into change and do it visibly. Thanks to the herd instinct, others will follow.
  • Do the corporate shuffle. Change up your daily behaviors, move weekly meetings to different times and days every week. Get folks to sit in different places in meetings (not next to the same folks all the time). Do everything you can to shake up repetitive behaviors.
  • Inject the unexpected into your organization. For example, drop by unexpectedly for team meetings. Sit in on customer service and/or sales calls. Cross pollinate teams with each other and with external inputs to shake up the thinking. Energize your organization with the unexpected!
  • Stop having managers manage your staff. Change managers into mentors, coaches, whose roles are to cheer their teammates to be creative, audacious, take action and ownership for what their believe in. Clue: if the present managers in place don’t grasp the concept, this simply means they are in the wrong place. Good leaders don’t manage, they mentor and develop their teams.

Don’t focus so much on the competition. If you focus too much on your competitors, you will likely be an “-er brand. You will want to be cheap-er, fast-er, healthi-er, whatev-er than your competition. No kidding! It’s impossible to lead your market, to be innovative and a breakout business if you’re focused on your competition. By definition, you’re following. Instead, spend all that time and money focusing on finding new markets, new opportunities and new ways of seeing and thinking about your business. Work to uncover the un-met needs of your consumers, work to create a unique culture to attract top talents to your organization. That’s how to be a profitable market leader. Besides, the view never changes if you’re following your competitor.

Focus on experimentation.
If you focus on immediate ROI, you don’t grasp the notion of “innovation”. Immediate ROI is about efficiency, notinnovation. Innovation takes time, requirement many experiments before coming up with a final product/service. Stress the fact that “failure” is part of the experimentation process, that the “downs” are part of the steps towards success. Encourage experimentation, eliminate the fear of “failing”, “losing”, “taking risks”. Focus on the opportunities instead.

So, this week, go buy a pack of Orangina bottles and shake up your thinking!

image credit: orangina-posters-bernard-villemot

Innovation Excellence Cities Tour

Wait! Before you go…

Choose how you want the latest innovation content delivered to you:


Stephan Vincent is Director of Cultural Transformation at Collidea, a strategic innovation firm in Carmel, IN. He is also Founder and President of s.p.IN and Collide Summit Indiana, a first-of-its- kind un-conference unlike anything else. Stephan is a new contributor to IX, sharing insights from his own blog.

No comments

Leave a Reply