I was going to start this newsletter by saying "You can't open a newspaper these days without seeing an example of Shift Thinking, or the need for it." Then I realized I was stuck in an old mental model myself. After all, who opens a newspaper any more? I should have said "You can't open a news app or web page."
It's remarkable to me how deep our mental models go. Consider that we still measure the output of an engine in "horsepower." One of my personal favorites is the icon for "Save" in Microsoft Office. Do you know what it is without looking? It's a floppy disk. Many people who use Office have never seen a floppy disk!
Outdated mental models help explain the recent missteps in the airline industry. My latest Harvard Business article with Barry Libert is "To Change Your Strategy, First Change How You Think." We argue that digital transformation requires alignment of three models: mental, business and measurement. Too often, companies copy only the business model without also mirroring the mental and measurement models.
Southwest Airlines was a pioneer in its business model, but more importantly its mental model. Traditional carriers had a mental model of flying airplanes that carry people. Southwest created a new mental model of serving people using airplanes. It's a subtle but profound difference. Read the article to see why JetBlue succeeded where other imitators of Southwest failed.
In other news, I'm pleased to announce that my webinar with Singularity University is now official. The good news is that you are all invited. The even better news is that it's free!
The webinar builds on one of my most popular HBR articles, "How to Create an Exponential Mindset." We will cover how incremental thinking puts a limit on what is considered possible. You will learn the real reason exponential projects meet internal resistance and how to overcome it. I will also reveal the latest thinking on how to design metrics that distinguish between the incremental and exponential. My goal is for this to be the best hour of your week.
Here are the details, and you can register at this link. If you can't make that time, sign up anyway so that you can get a copy of the recording.
Are you thinking incrementally or exponentially?
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
9am PT / Noon ET / 6pm CEST
Keep shifting, and see you on June 6!