What Did You See Differently?

Friday, 11 September 2020

A long, long time ago two shoe-salesmen went to Africa. (I’m from Africa. I cannot resist repeating this story. Often.) Soon one wrote to his boss, “Coming home. People don’t wear shoes.” The other telegraphed his office, “Urgent. Send shoes. Huge untapped market.”

Both were looking at the same market, but seeing it differently. Seeing differently creates insight.

Well, today shoes are more common in Africa. What about fridges in frozen countries?

Peter Drucker once said, “Selling refrigerators to the Eskimos to keep food cold is one thing. But selling refrigerators to the Eskimos to keep food from freezing is creative.” Or words to that effect.

The point? Unless you see the relationship between the objects involved, (the fridge, the food, the climate, the Eskimo), you will only see the functionality of the fridge. You will then decide that Eskimos do not need fridges. And yet, Eskimos could use something which will prevent food from freezing while keeping it fresh.

And just because I spent 80% of my childhood, when the salesman was passing by, without shoes on, does not mean that I never wore shoes.


Here’s your Friday Trigger Question:

  • This past week, what did you see differently?
  • (And another one: What insight did it trigger?)

If you only saw the same old same old, then try this: Don’t focus on the objects in your life. Focus on the relationships between the objects.


As always, don’t forget to review our 5 regular Friday Trigger Questions:

  1. What did you succeed at or achieve this past week?
  2. What had you planned to do or to achieve this week, but did not?
  3. What did you fail at this past week?
  4. What surprised you, or caught you unprepared, this past week?
  5. What important or mutually beneficial relationship changed this week?

Bonus Question: What had you worried or concerned, but never happened?

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