Many business owners have a hard time seeing the future of their market because they spend most of their time thinking inside their business. While thinking about your business is a requirement for long term health the future of your business is on the outside.
What Do You See From The Inside?
Looking from the inside out tends to create filters that try and fit events from the outside into a frame of reference from the inside.
We usually try and apply deductive and inductive reasoning to our day to day business decisions. Deductive reason applies a widely held rule usual based on experience. Inductive reasoning applies new rules based on a wide range of experience supported by our data.
The problem with applying both deductive and inductive reasoning from inside is that the marketplace may be rapidly changing and thus any reference to past experiences or data are not likely to lead you to “see what is happening” to the marketplace that you aim to serve.
What Do You See From The Outside?
Outside is a reference to what changes are happening to the marketplace you are trying to serve. There are numerous factors that influence changes to a marketplace. The two driving factors that create the most change are innovation and communications. Now stop and consider the two elements of “social media” that has so many people and organizations using it. Social media it is a new kind of communications channel and the use of it is fueling a race for innovation.
Because of the internet the dynamics and behavior of markets have become anomalous. Buyer behavior is deviating from or inconsistent with the common rule held by business leaders who have managed from the inside out. Major brands are feeling the influence of buyers enabled to collaborate, communicate and speak in the wide open world currently labeled as “social media“. While social media is creating anomaly the reaction from businesses is to try and control it to produce a result or reduce a risk using inside views. This behavior reflects their reliance on deductive and inductive reasoning, trying to fit an anomaly into their inside view (paradigms) of the world. Organizations are creating “social media policies to reduce risk” and at the same time they are using social media in ways that increase risk. Thinking from the inside will not enable organizations to capture or create innovation coming from the outside.
In order to capture or create innovation and the subsequent value leaders need to learn how to apply abductive logic, the thinking that ask “what could be vs what currently is”. To think this way leaders need to creatively collaborate with disparate views and experiences from resources inside and outside the organization. On the fringe of what could be is innovation. In order to discover what could be you have to listen to the marketplace of ongoing communications fueled by this thing called social media. At the click of a mouse you can access millions of voices sharing disparate views and experiences. It is this data which will lead you to the innovation required to keep or increase your market. However, in order to identify the possibilities of what could be you have to get your head out from the inside and listening intently to the outside.
You’ll be surprised to hear what you can learn from the outside. That is of course if your heart and mind are open enough to listen from the outside in.